Dec. 13, 2005
FT. WORTH, Texas - Living in the shadows of a successful sibling can be daunting for most people, especially when the success was attained at a national and/or international level. For former TCU track standout Michael Frater, it has been quite the opposite.
Frater, who is the little brother to All-American Lindel Frater, also earned All-American status in his own right while at TCU. Now competing in the professional track circuit, Michael has been regarded as one of Jamaica's most talented young sprinters.
Michael, who hails from Manchester, Jamaica, recently competed in the 2005 World Championships this past summer, where he won the silver medal in the 100 meters with a 10.05 clocking. Prior to that, he placed sixth in the semifinals of the 2004 Summer Olympics and ran the anchor leg for Jamaica in the 4x100-meter relay.
His personal best of 10.03 was set in Athens on June 14, 2005, in the same race (100 meters) that fellow Jamaican and world-renowned track athlete Asafa Powell set his current world record.
The following is a list of questions and answers from the Michael Frater interview.
Q. How was your first year at TCU?
A. I arrived to TCU at the best time. The TCU track program had some of the best sprinters in the nation at that time. My first year was difficult, knowing I can run fast but it wasn't fast enough to make the sprint relay team. I learned at an early stage of my track career from the seniors what I needed to do and work on to be as good as they were.
Q. You and Lindel gained All-American status while at TCU and have continued to receive widespread recognition post-college. Was there any competition or rivalry between you and your brother?
A. Lindel is four years older than me so there was no sibling rivalry between us. It never crossed my mind to compete against him or to out-perform him. He has accomplished many things on his own; yet, has always been supportive of my goals and me.
Q. Who or what inspired you to compete in track and field?
A. There wasn't any one particular person or thing that drew me to track. Even before Lindel became really good in track, I can remember from a very young age how much I liked the sport.
Q. What has been the biggest difference since you've finished competing at TCU?
A. When you compete in college, it's about helping your team achieve its goal. Now, the focus has shifted where the pressure of success and financial stability lies solely on the individual. It's more difficult and requires strict self-discipline if you want to be successful. For me, I've been very fortunate. The last two years since TCU has been good to me.
Q. What was the experience like competing in your first Olympics (in Athens, Greece) last year?
A. I have to admit I was nervous. I was considered an unknown at that time but was able to advance to the semifinals. The Olympics was a great experience, something I didn't realize you really need in order to build on his/her success.
Q. What's next on your professional plate?
A. I will be competing in the Commonwealth Games next March (2005). It'll be in Melbourne, Australia, this year. It's a pretty important international event prior to the World Cup, which is also taking place next year.
Q. Is there spare time between training for the next professional meet and finishing school?
A. There is no spare time between school and training. Now that I'm no longer competing for TCU, training goes up a level or two as it becomes more focused and intense. I usually spend four hours a day on the track, fine-tuning certain things or doing special workouts (weights) for an hour and a half several days a week to prepare for a professional meet.
Q. How has life changed for you since TCU?
A. My life has changed tremendously, especially after the World Championships. There are good financial possibilities for a professional track athlete. I've worked hard to get where I am today and know that I'm also very fortunate to be doing something I love.
Q. What has been your biggest accomplishment?
A. My biggest accomplishment since TCU was finishing second in the World Championships this past summer. It was an awesome feeling. You only dream about this so when it becomes a reality, it feels so surreal. I just can't believe it sometimes.
Q. What advice would you give to the aspiring young track athletes?
A. My advice to the younger athletes would be to stay focused by getting an education. College comes once in a lifetime. The financial benefits of turning professional are enticing for a young talented athlete who is just finishing high school. However, I think it's more important to enjoy the college experience. A college degree will be something you can fall back on when your track career ends due to injury or retirement or whatever. You just never know so it's better to finish college first.
Q. What are your plans after track?
A. I will finish school at TCU in December with a degree in political science and a minor in history. I think it's important to take care of school first before anything else. When my track career is over, I plan to attend law school in the U.S.