(Jamaica Observer) Jamaica and the international track and field community yesterday reacted with shock and pain to the early morning death of retired athlete Germaine Mason, whose exploits as a high jumper won him a silver medal at the Beijing Olympic Games in 2008.

Mason, who was born in Jamaica, matched his personal best of 2.34m to claim the medal competing for Britain to which he had switched allegiance in 2006.

As news of the 34-year-old’s death, in a motorcycle crash on the Norman Manley Highway in Kingston about 4:20 am, started spreading throughout the island, his former coach at MVP Track Club Stephen Francis, as well as Olympian and former MVP sprinter Michael Frater, expressed the pain and hurt felt by many at the tragedy.

“I don’t think reality is upon me yet, getting the phone call nobody wants to get,” Frater, who like Mason attended Wolmer’s Boys’ School, posted on Instagram.

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