Mikel Thomas was replaced by Shakeel John as the alternate athlete on the T&T’s bobsleigh team for the Beijing Winter Olympics in China which starts on Friday and runs until February 20.
This was confirmed by the T&T Olympic Committee (TTOC) in a release on Friday which stated that the TTOC approved an urgent request that Thomas be withdrawn due to medical circumstances unrelated to the strict Beijing Winter Olympics COVID-19 protocols and countermeasures.
It said: “The TTOC’s best wishes go out to Mikel Thomas for his full recovery. On the basis of privacy and confidentiality, the TTOC will make no further statement or comment on the specifics of the athlete’s medical circumstances.”
However, Thomas via a Facebook post on Saturday elaborated on the circumstances and explained that he is doing well and is being treated.
He said: “Earlier this week, I was suffering from some chest pains. Trying to get some rest one night and I just couldn’t my chest was really tight and congested and it really stopped me from being able to rest I deliberated for a long time pleading to my black men out there if you feel like something is wrong get to the hospital, get some help. I did that I checked into the emergency room and long story short, I have an acute case of pericarditis, which is information around the lining of my heart.
“We have no idea where this come from so nothing is physically wrong with my heart, my lungs, my internal system at all however, it then to come from some sort of viral disease but there is no case of COVID. I have no cough, no fever, no flu, no symptoms of anything. All of the blood and swabs and things that we tried to test nothing came up.
“It’s just something that came about so we have been tampering down there is no blunt force to my chest but still, the lining around my heart became inflame swelling into my left pec (pectoral region) into my lymphatic system into my neck.”
Since the diagnosis, Thomas has been on antibiotics and anti-inflammatory medication and given instructions to rest for the next three to four weeks.
“Unfortunately, the Olympic Games is in two so obviously you can tell no cardiologist is going to allow me to perform at the highest level of sport especially given the nature of what bobsled actually requires, it’s seven seconds of maximum effort and the rest of 50 seconds is literally with your head down moving at 100 miles an hour faces G-Forces forces and 21 curves.
“It’s tough because I love T&T, I’ve given literally my heart to my nation for the last 20 years. It’s been an honour to be a part of so much history.”
According to the release, Team TTO Chef de Mission Lovie Santana, COVID-19 Liaison Officer (CLO) Rheeza Grant, athletes Axel Browne and Andre Marcano and technical support Thomas Harris are en route to China and added that all required travel arrangements to get John to Beijing are underway.
It said: “The logistics to travel to Beijing China are complex but the TTOC is doing all it can to surmount the challenges.”
Thomas, in his post, wished the team well saying: “I’m excited for Axe and Andre and the whole squad. I know they are going to do great things.
“I’m blessed to have been able to send them off with love and nothing but full support but had to relinquish my position due to medical reasons. I’ll be ok but my heart hurts…literally.
“But my faith remains, in God, my nation, and our team.”