Jamaica first competed at the Olympics in 1946 and brought home gold & silver medals in the men’s 400m thanks to Arthur Wint & Herb McKenley. Since then, Jamaica have won all of 78 medals, with all but one in athletics.
Here are MY top five picks for MY most memorable Olympic moments.
5. Elaine Thompson Doubles in Rio:
Tongues were wagging in Track and Field circles about a young Elaine Thompson who was blazing the track and showing significant promise since 2015. But the world really saw the true talents of the young starlet when she made quite a breakthrough in Rio. Thompson won the 100m in a blistering 10.71 seconds, just one second shy of the national record. But most remarkable of all was when she also won the 200m just days later, making her the only woman in Jamaica’s Olympic history to bag the sprint double. You would have to go back 28 years to find another woman who had done the feat, the American Flo Jo in 1988.
4. Jamaica Goes 1-2-2 in Beijing
Jamaica showed the world just how great we are at sprinting in 2008 and sounded the alarm that we would dominate for years to come. Just 1 day after a 21-year-old Usain Bolt did damage in the 100m, 21-year-old Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce showed why our motto should probably be “wi likkle but we tallawah”, when the pocket rocket raced her way into the hearts of Jamaicans in winning the women’s 100m final at the Beijing Olympics. But get this! Jamaica ended that race with a clean sweep of 1-2-2 as both Sherone Simpson and Kerron Stewart tied for silver, relegating their American rivals to 4th, 5th and 8th.
3. Veronica’s 200m win makes Jamaica cry
Not an eye was dry in Jamaica when a 22-year-old Veronica Campbell-Brown finally gave Jamaica a breakthrough in the sprints and handed us our first ever women’s sprint gold medal. Campbell-Brown faced the American Allyson Felix but her face bore a steely resolve as she went out of the blocks like a bullet, making her way to the top of the podium. Most memorable of all was her medal ceremony. As the Jamaican anthem started to play, VCB let the tears flow in Athens, and also in every living room across Jamaica.
2. Usain Bolt Repeats in London
In a race that included five of the fastest men in history, including 2 Jamaicans that had broken the world record twice, everyone looked visibly nervous at the start. But Usain Bolt showed why he was indeed king of the track when he rebounded from a slow start and emphatically made his way to the front of the pack in 9.63 seconds. It was a remarkable title defense for the big man, with Yohan Blake in second. That race was the fastest in Olympics history with seven of the eight finalists running under 10 seconds!
1. Usain Bolt wins in Beijing!
Before 21-year-old Usain Bolt stepped on the track for the Olympic 100m final in Beijing 2008, going under 9.7 seconds seemed unimaginable in the sport. But Bolt takes everything to another level. In his first Olympic 100m final, he made his presence felt. As early as 80m in, Bolt had begun to shut down after commanding an unassailable lead, beating his chest while he crossed the finish-line in a world record 9.69 seconds, becoming the first Jamaican man to cop 100m gold. Most impressive of all? It could have been even lower had he run through the line instead!