British track and field star Germaine Mason was killed in a motorcycle accident in Jamaica on April 20.
Mason, who was born in Jamaica, switched to represent Great Britain in the 2006 and 2008 Olympics as a high jumper. A tweet posted by the Jamaica Constabulary announced that he was found dead after his motorcycle crashed in the country.
Here’s what you need to know:
1. Mason Won a Silver Medal At the 2008 Beijing Olympics
After a stellar high-jumping career in his early years, he made his Olympic debut representing Great Britain at the 2008 Beijing Summer Olympics.
Mason jumped a best of 2.29 meters in the qualifying rounds to make it through to the final.
In his debut in the finals, Mason jumped 2.34 meters in his first try, a personal best. He was defeated only by Russia’s Andrey Silnov, who registered a jump of 2.36 meters to win the gold medal in the competition. Mason walked away with a silver medal.
2. Mason Was Called a ‘Truly Lovely Man’ By His Jump Coach
When news of his unexpected death surfaced out of Jamaica, the sporting world was stunned and offered their condolences and prayers to Mason and his family.
British Athletics high jump coach Fuzz Caan worked with Mason when he was making his Olympic debut in 2008. Caan told BBC that Mason was an “outstanding athlete and a truly lovely man.”
Caan wasn’t the only one who had the same thoughts on Mason. Britain’s Denise Lewis, who won a gold medal in the heptathlon at the 2000 Sydney Summer Olympics, called Mason a “fun-loving person.”
British sprinter James Ellington, who was hurt in a motorcycle accident in January, tweeted out that he couldn’t believe the news that he heard about Mason’s passing.
3. Mason Switched to Represent Great Britain Because His Father Was Born In London
Mason, who was born in Kingston, Jamaica, started competing for the country in high jump in the early 2000s. At the 2000 World Junior Championships, Mason walked away with a silver medal in the high jump and then won bronze at the 2002 edition of the competition.
After that, Mason moved up in rank and competed at the senior level, winning his first medal — a gold — at the 2003 Pan-American Games. At the event, he had a personal-best jump of 2.34 meters. He went on to compete at the world championships at the senior level later that year, but finished out of medal contention, taking fifth place.
In 2004, Mason won a bronze medal at the 2004 IAAF World Indoor Championships. Shortly thereafter, Mason switched allegiances from Jamaica to Great Britain with the Olympics on the horizon. He was able to do so because his father, David, was born in London.
4. His 2nd Cousin Is Also an Olympic Athlete
Mason’s second cousin is Simeon Oscar Williamson, an English sprinter and bobsledder, who is also of Jamaican decent.
Williamson specializes in the 100-meter dash and competed in the event at the 2008 Beijing Summer Olympics as well as being on the country’s 4×100-meter relay team. However, he struggled at the Olympics, failing to qualify in the 100-meter dash and being part of the relay team that was disqualified for dropping the baton.
Williamson saw steady improvement after his debut Olympic performance, however. He won a national championship in July 2009 in the 100 meter with a time of 10.05 seconds.
In addition to being a sprinter, Williamson has been a “push athlete” on Great Britain’s bobsled team. He and partner Lamin Deen took 14th in the two-man and eighth in the full-team event at the 2015 FIBT World Championships.
5. Mason’s Younger Brother Is Serving a Life Sentence In Prison For Murder
Mason’s younger brother, Andre, was convicted for playing a role in the “brutal” murder of a Somalian student in London. He had moved to London in 2003 to be raised by his mother, but it didn’t take long for him to hang with the wrong crowd, The Guardian reported.
Andre was just 14-years old when he was involved in a gang known as “Money, Drugs, Power,” or MDP for short. The Guardian wrote that Germaine was “shocked and saddened” by the events his little brother played a role in.