By Teryl Warren

On Thursday, November 1, a lavish party was held at the luxurious Sofitel Hotel to welcome Olympic Gold and Silver medal-winning sprinter Yohan Blake to the United States, and Wiles was there to take in all the action!

At just under 22 years of age, Yohan Blake became the youngest 100m champion ever – a record previously held by US track and field legend Carl Lewis.  And now, having represented his native Jamaica in the 100m, 200m and 4x100m relay at the World Championships and the 2012 London Olympic Games, Yohan Blake has quickly established himself as the heir apparent to the Jamaican sprinting throne that will soon likely be vacated by the reigning sovereign Usain Bolt.

But “The Beast,” as Blake has been affectionately nicknamed, appeared more like a gentle lamb as he opted to first greet and sign autographs for a small throng of fans gathered on the curb before addressing the anxious paparazzi on the red carpet.

“I’m very happy to be here,” the soft spoken Blake said. “This is amazing. Thank you all for coming.”

Dressed in a tasteful black suit, Blake chose the perfect accessories – his two Silver medals and his one Gold Olympic medal – to complete his look for the evening.  And when the inevitable questions and comparisons about his countryman – the “fastest man in the world,” Usain Bolt – were posed, Blake fielded them with sincere humility and an easy graciousness.

“[Bolt] is great to train with – he’s very talented and a wonderful mentor for me. It’s an honor to run with him and he’s taught me a lot.”

Yohan has taken what he’s learned – both on and off the track – and is using his influence and his passion to make a positive impact in the lives of poor people all over the world.  In addition to providing food and much-needed aid to victims of Hurricane Sandy, Blake’s YB Afraid Foundation seeks to aid poor Jamaicans in receiving first class education, healthcare, and security.

As he states on the Foundation’s website,” Because I grew up in extreme poverty, I know how it feels to have nothing.   I have always wanted to be in a position to give back and now I have the opportunity to do so.  I want to help young people to do great things and to achieve the unexpected.”

The 2012 London Olympics were Blake’s first Olympic competition. After taking home the Silver medal in both the 100m and the 200m, as well as the Gold in the 4x100m relay, it’s clear that Yohan Blake is just getting started.

And while he and the star-studded crowd danced the balmy night away, Blake was clearly motivated and focused on the future. “After this, I’ll start training for the World Championships, and then [I’ll get ready] for the Olympics in 2016.”


To learn more about the YB Afraid Foundation, please visit:


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