OPENING UP: The girlfriend of Olympic bronze medallist Warren Weir, speaks with The Gleaner at his home in St Andrew, while Warren looks on via Skype (PIC CREDIT: Chadwyck Vassel)
WHEN TEAM Jamaica's Warren Weir crossed the finish line behind Yohan Blake and Usain Bolt to round out the trifecta for Jamaica in the men's 200-metre sprint at the London Olympics on Thursday, his girlfriend Natalya McGhie found herself on the floor "bawling and rolling" uncontrollably. She had no idea how she got there.
Natalya managed to regain control of her emotions well enough to sit up, only to be floored and overflowing with tears once again when the love of her life gave her a big shout-out during the internationally televised post-race interview.
Natalya wasn't sure her heart could take any more excitement. This was too much. But the euphoria came to a crescendo once again moments later when she watched him take the podium at the medal ceremony and received his bronze medal.
Sitting with friends in front of the big screen inside Warren's St Andrew townhouse back in Jamaica, for those few moments the world stood still for the 18-year-old Campion College graduate.
"You hear the term 'being on cloud nine'? Well, I was much higher than cloud nine," the bubbly young lady shared with The Gleaner from the veranda of Weir's home, still overflowing with excitement as rain burst from the cloudy sky.
"I was so excited, I was so happy for him and then to know that through all of that he could still remember to big up who were there for him."
Overcome with emotion, she added: "I cried even more when I remember three years ago he said his vision 2012 was to go to the Olympics, and to see that he not only went to the Olympics but he also got a medal. It was just so overwhelming. I couldn't even imagine how he felt."
That 'big up' from her heartbeat turned the young lady into an overnight celebrity, as curious minds wanted to know who Natalya was. She began to get countless Facebook friend requests and her Twitter followers jumped from 400 to 900.
"People were actually hunting down my photo to paste and say 'this is Warren woman'. People would come up to me and say 'Aren't you Natalya?' And when I say 'yes' they would say 'Take care of him 'cause you've been there from day one.' And I will say 'Yeah, man, definitely'," she shared with laughter.
Natalya met Warren three years ago when he had just graduated from Calabar High School. She was chatting on Facebook with a mutual friend, 110m hurdler Deuce Carter, when Deuce told her he wanted her to comment on a Facebook group and added Warren to the chat.
"It just kicked off from there and he and I became best friends," she revealed.
Supporting him through an ankle injury that plagued him for some time, Natalya watched Warren's athletic career blossom and she knew he was destined for greatness.
"I told him from then that with the determination he had he was going to make it big. I always believed in him, always. I could always see that light in him," she passionately stated, confident he would return from the Olympics with a medal.
"I was at every track meet. Before he runs you always hear someone in the crowd shout out 'Warren!' and everyone knew it was me," she stated, bursting into laughter.
Describing herself as the female version of Warren, both sharing an October birth month, she said he had a fun-loving, bubbly personality and loved to make others laugh.
"He is also really caring and humble and very supportive. He is just overall a really nice person and very family-oriented. The only difference is that he is very outgoing and I am not," she stated.
"Warren is also the type of person that if he says he wants something, he will work really hard to achieve it."
What does the future hold for them?
"There is no doubt about the fact that we love each other very much, but for now we are just taking it in stages and see what the future holds. While he is pursuing his athletics career I will be pursuing my business studies," she said.
The goal-oriented young lady will begin her economics studies at the University of the West Indies in a few weeks, as she lays the groundwork for a career as an entrepreneur in the production sector, later launching into politics, to fulfil her dream of serving her country.
"Serving my country is very important to me, including making a significant contribution to the production sector. I want to have a multinational company that originates in Jamaica, producing quality products made in Jamaica and sold internationally," she said. She isn't new to business as she has been beside her mother in her wholesale and retail business since she was 12 years old.
ONE MORE MONTH
Natalya shared that she can't wait for Warren to return to Jamaica, but she has more than a month to wait. For now, she is content to talk with him every day, whether through instant messaging, Skype or voice call.
In fact, while she was speaking with The Gleaner, they were messaging each other constantly on BlackBerry Messenger. When the interview concluded, Warren couldn't wait to get back to the Skype chat The Gleaner had interrupted.
All smiles when she logged on, the 22-year-old Olympian confirmed that he would be heading off to Switzerland and other meets before returning to Jamaica "some time in September" to his family and the arms of the love of his life.