Born to be Olympians: Sean Bailey follows in footsteps of legendary sister, Veronica Campbell Brown

Olympics

EL PASO, TEXAS (KTSM) – Former UTEP 400 meter star Sean bailey will make his Olympics debut on Friday in a pair of relays for Jamaica, following in the footsteps of his sister, one of the most decorated female Olympians of all time.

When Sean Bailey won the 400 meters at the Jamaican Olympic Trials in Junes, he punched his ticket to his first Olympic games.

“It’s still unreal to me that I’m actually an Olympian,” Bailey said.

It was about more than himself for the UTEP graduate, though. Track and field is a family tradition; Bailey’s older sister Veronica Campbell Brown ran at five Olympics, winning eight medals, three of them gold. Simply put, she’s one of the top sprinters of all time.

“I’m just happy to be among the greatest men or women that have competed at the highest level,” Campbell Brown said.

As a child, Sean has fond memories of watching his sister win gold in 2004 and 2008. Veronica, meanwhile, remembers pushing a young Sean towards the track.

“I realized at a young age that he liked track and field, so I pushed him to work hard at it. I’m just happy to see that he’s blossoming right now,” she said.

A junior college national champion, Bailey won multiple Conference USA championships and ran well at the NCAA Championships in 2021, before pulling up with an injury in the 400m final.

At Tokyo 2020, Bailey will run the mixed 4x400m relay (two men, two women) and the men’s 4×400 relay. He was initially slated to run the open 400 meters as well, but was switched into the two relays at the last minute in favor of a higher-ranked sprinter.

It’s the first time since 1996 that his sister won’t be competing, so little brother is hoping to take her place among the elite.

“Having the confidence I have now moving forward to the future I’m expecting a lot from myself and just trying to fill her shoes, I probably won’t, but I’ll try my best,” Bailey said.

His gold medalist sister has some simple advice for him, though: relax.

“He’s not under any pressure to try to see my accomplishment as pressure for him to walk in my shoes,” said Campbell Brown.

Like sister, like brother though; Bailey and his legendary sister have the same hope: hat he medal in Tokyo.

“When you go to the Olympics the objective is to make the podium, so that’s my prayer for him,” said Campbell Brown.

“I think that’s a bigger accomplishment to not only be an Olympian but be an Olympic medalist. it would be great for my resume,” said Bailey.

Bailey will make his Olympic debut on Friday for Jamaica in heat two of the mixed 4×400 relay, which will start at 5:12 a.m. Mountain time in the United States. The men’s 4×400 relay is set to begin Aug. 6.

When Bailey runs, this time the roles are reversed: his sister will be watching him, screaming at the television for him to go faster.

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