Jamaica

Athletics in Jamaica
While Jamaica has had the likes of Don Quarrie, Grace Jackson and the fabulous Merlene Ottey (almost unbelievably still competing in her 50s) to thrill the world with their sprinting exploits, nothing could have prepared the country for what would happen several years ago. Usain Bolt's emergence as a genuine sporting icon has reignited the passion for sprinting in his homeland and inspired a whole new 'breed' of Jamaican sprinters, who have arguably taken over from the USA as the dominance force over 100m and 200m.


Magical Moment

It was largely considered that Michael Johnson's 19.32 200m World Record would be untouchable for many years - if at all. When Usain Bolt first broke this mark in Beijing at the 2008 Olympic Final with 19.30, it was hailed as an incredible achievement. However, in one of the most amazing feats of the modern athletics era, he surpassed this in Berlin a year later at the 2009 World Championships, lowering the record to just 19.19 (into a headwind of -0.3m/s). A packed stadium of over 74,000 were utterly delirious to witness such a performance from the man who has re-written the record books over both 100m and 200m.


Current Stars
Jamaica now has a clutch of world-class sprinters in addition to Usain Bolt himself - the most promising of which is Yohan Blake, who got close to the great man's 200m World Record in Brussels during September 2011 with a 19.26 clocking and won two silvers at London 2012 behind Bolt. The former World Record Holder, Asafa Powell, is also a major sprinting force.

In women's athletics Veronica Campbell-Brown continues to win global medals at 100m and 200m (she now has 14 in total). Jamaica can also boast 2012 Olympic 100m Champion Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce and Kerron Stewart, plus the duo of Melaine Walker and Kaliese Spencer, who were ranked 2nd and 3rd respectively over 400m Hurdles in 2011.


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