|Bahamas should emulate Jamaica in world sprints|
Guardian Columnist/Sales Executive
Published: Jul 24, 2012
Jamaica, our sister Caribbean island, is poised to defend its sprinting title at the London Olympics. Four years ago in Beijing, led by the awesomely swift legs of Usain Bolt, Jamaica established beyond any doubt that it had produced the most excellent sprinters, male and female, the world ever saw.
Yes, it is the view here that the 2008 Jamaican Olympic sprinters, collectively, were the best ever accumulated at one time.
Bolt exceeded the expectations many had of him since he was a junior world record holder in the 200 meters.
His 9.58 and 19.19 recordings in the short sprints respectively might very well last for decades to come.
Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce was not known very much worldwide when she demonstrated shocking speed to win the 100 meters in Beijing with a time of 10.78. She has since lowered her personal best to 10.70. While that clocking, superb as it is, doesn’t come close to the ridiculously low 10.49 achieved by he late Florence Griffith-Joyner, Fraser-Pryce has proven that she was much more than a flash in the pan.
At the Jamaican Nationals just recently, she easily defeated Veronica Campbell-Brown in both the 100 and 200 meters. She goes to London as a strong double possibility.
Bolt and the man who conquered him twice at the Jamaican Nationals, Yohan Blake, are the sprint favorites for London.
What is so amazing about Jamaica is how the relatively small nation (compared to the United States, Russia, Germany and the like) has been so consistent for almost 70 years in producing the best in the world of sprinters.
In the late 1940s and 1950s, the trend began with Herb McKenley, Arthur Wint, George Rhoden and Les Laing. In the 1950s, Keith Gardiner came on stream, followed by George Kerr, Dennis Johnson and Lennox Miller in the 1960s. Miller bridged the gap to Don Quarrie in the 1970 and Bert Cameron subsequently had some superb years during the 1980s. McKenley, Rhoden, Wint, Laing, Kerr and Cameron were successful in the longer sprint of 100 meters. Kerr was also terrific over two laps.
The Jamaican short sprinters of the present era are the greatest group yet. Bolt, Blake, Asafa Powell, Nester Carter and Michael Frater are a fantastic collection. Only the USA can boast of having such a five, close to Jamaica at any one time.
On the female side, Grace Jackson, Merlene Ottey and Julieth Cuthbert passed the baton on to Campbell-Brown, Fraser-Pryce, Sherone Simpson and Kerron Stewart.
It’s a wonderful history of sprinting that can be favorably spoken about with passion and conviction, equally, as that of the USA.
We in The Bahamas can emulate Jamaica.
We would do well to seek to be as Jamaica is and has been for many years. For The Bahamas, only the Golden Girls have had the great consistency at the top of the world.
In The Bahamas, there has always been the potential to be better in athletic and other sports disciplines.
Do we strive for excellence as Jamaica does?
Have we been rather elated to produce semi-finalists while Jamaica’s sight has been set on the top prize?
What is it?
The recipe for Jamaica is the combination of hard work and the one agenda of going for the gold. Yes, there are “attitudes” and “personality conflicts” in Jamaica for sure. What they have been great at though is in putting aside individual views in favor of a total focus on the gold.
Intrinsically, The Bahamas is not there yet. We do have what it takes to emulate Jamaica in world sprinting.
Presently, however, Jamaica is leagues ahead of us in that department. Jamaica will once again be the Caribbean sprint leader at the Olympics.
We must grab the formula that can place us alongside or close to Jamaica.
That’s the future.
For now, yes, it’s go Bahamas!
Also, go Jamaica!
• To respond to this column, kindly contact Fred Sturrup at email@example.com.