Champion Spotlight: Olympic Gold Medalist ‘VCB’

The Clermont resident just released an inspirational book

| By Kathryn Deen |

There once was a girl who could outrun all the boys in her town.

Now, Veronica Campbell Brown, 36, can outrun almost anyone in the world.

You may have heard of “VCB.” The three-time Olympic gold medalist in track and field happens to be a proud Clermont resident.

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Veronica’s claims to fame include eight medals for Jamaica across five consecutive Olympic Games — from Sydney 2000 to Rio 2016. (That makes her No. 3 on the Olympic all-time list for number of medals!)

Plus, she dominated at the IAFF World Outdoor Championships in 2011 with a gold and two silvers, bringing her total to 11 medals. Through the years, she has won the World Youth, World Junior and World Senior competitions.

Now, the sprinter is using her platform to give back and inspire other women to achieve their potential.

Among her accomplishments, she just released her second inspirational book, continues to grow her foundation and is ramping up her public speaking engagements.

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Pages Packed with Encouragement

Veronica’s new work, “Inside Out: Activate the Power Within You,” has been a few years in the making.

The Christian Faith Publishing book is packed with Biblical lessons, as well as personal stories from Veronica’s athletic triumphs and trials.

“I talked about love, mental capacity and purpose,” she told Clermont Magazine during an interview at Palatlakaha Park, where she conditions when she’s not training at Montverde Academy.

“In order to be prosperous, we have to love what we do and love each other,” she said. “Only the strong can overcome challenges, and it’s important to know your purpose and work toward maximizing it.”

For Veronica, writing started in high school on a personal level. She’d journal prayers and words of self-encouragement.

IMG_2587An avid reader, some of the authors she took inspiration from include T.D. Jakes, Juanita Bynum and Cindy Trimm.

“I understand the benefits of inspirational materials, so I want to play my part in inspiring as many people as I can,” she said.

In part, Veronica credits her positive mindset for her success, including her most momentous accomplishment — becoming the second woman in history to defend her 200-meter Olympic gold medal.

“My career has been a blessing and I’m very grateful for all that God has allowed me to accomplish,” she said.

Laying the Foundation for Education

Coming from the small town of Trelawny, Jamaica, Veronica is thankful for all the people who supported her path to the world stage. And she makes a point to pay it forward.

That’s why she started the Veronica Campbell Brown Foundation in 2010 to mentor disadvantaged girls in Jamaica, as well as to fund their high school tuition.

“Education is very important,” she said. “I know sports participation is just for a period in ones life, and at the end of the day, education is imperative for building a strong generation.”

She hopes to grow the foundation in the coming years.

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Her Inner Circle

A coach is a critical part of an athlete’s success, and Veronica found her current one in a unique way.

Veronica met Omar Brown in high school in Jamaica. They attended college together at the University of Arkansas, both competing in track and specializing in the 200-meter sprint. (Omar medaled in the 200- and 100-meter at World Youth Championships and dominating the 200-meter at the 2006 Commonwealth Games before injuries slowed him down.)

They fell in love and married in 2007, and it wasn’t until several years later that he became her coach.

IMG_2553“Omar has helped me along the way,” Veronica said. “He’s very passionate, very knowledgeable and very patient. We learn how to balance our relationship — one side is business and one is personal, and we learned how to separate them.”

Together, they travel all over the world to make her competition circuits. They may start with local races and then hop to places such as Shanghai, Doha, Czech Republic, Monte Carlo, Zurich, Oregon and New York.

She also races around the Caribbean, including Jamaica, Bahamas, Grenada and the Cayman Island.

As for her favorite place to travel?

“It’s always fun to compete in Jamaica because the fans are extremely energetic, supportive and passionate at the sport,” she said.

When they’re not on the road, they train in Montverde. She also likes doing circuits at Lake Palatlakaha Park and jogging the hills of Clermont.

“The hills are very good for training,” Veronica said. “I enjoy hill workouts. They pose a challenge, but in the end are well worth it.”

IMG_2563The Browns love recharging at their favorite Clermont hangouts — catching a meal at Golden Krust, Akina or Crispers, jogging Waterfront Park and picnicking by the water.

“It’s relaxing down there at the waterfront,” she said. “We love the scenery.”

As for her other major source of support in her career?

Veronica looks up to fellow Jamaican sprinter Merlene Ottey.

“Merlene has been my inspiration and role model throughout my career,” Veronica said.

She holds the world record for the 200-meters indoors, and she arguably has the longest career as an international sprinter; Merlene earned a record nine Olympic medals spanning seven Olympic games and boasts 14 World Championship medals.

“She’s a great person, a good friend and an exceptional athlete,” Veronica said. “I admire her determination and strong will.”

Rooted in Faith

Veronica’s generosity pours out from her strong faith.

The member of One in Christ Ministries in Clermont was raised in a Christian home.

For her, running has always been spiritual.

“My mother taught me the value of having strong faith in God,” she said. “I grew up studying my Bible.”

“I realized that God has given me a special gift, so I have always worked hard on improving it,” she said.

IMG_2571Her faith carries her through life’s lows, like when she gets training injuries that set her back for months.

“There’s a reason for every injury,” she said. “There must be a lesson in it.”

And she credits Christ for all the victories along the way.

“I feel satisfied with what God has blessed me with,” she said. “Anything else I achieve now, I consider it a bonus.”

What’s left on her wish list?

Growing the foundation, ramping up her motivational speaking in the community, and having kids.


VCB Trivia

Favorite quote: “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” –Philippians 4:13

Greatest accomplishment: defending her 200-meter gold at the 2008 Olympics

Favorite local restaurants: Golden Krust, Akina and Crispers

Clermont hangout: Waterfront Park

Go-to splurge: Haagen-Dazs Rum Raisin ice-cream


kdKathryn Deen is the founder and editor of Clermont Magazine, a Clermont resident and an award-winning professional journalist.

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