18
Aug
08

Caribbean Cruise

What a weekend.  What an historic weekend!  The Green, Gold and Black is flying high in the hearts, minds and souls of all Jamaicans, and will be for quite some time!

For the first time in the history of the Olympic Games, one country has SWEPT all others to capture ALL the medals in the Women’s 100m sprint: Jamaica.  And it was the first time Jamaica won the Women’s gold too!

What makes it even more amazing is the fact that the winner, Shelly-Ann Fraser, was trained in Jamaica by Jamaican coach.  Her victory is a testimony to her natural talent (her mother was a sprinter), her coach’s ability, and her dedication, despite her many obstacles.

Point to note: 50% of the finalists in the Women’s 100m finals came from the Caribbean!

  • Jamaica:3
  • Bahamas:1
  • USA:3
  • UK:1

In the 1976 Olympics, history was created when Hasely Crawford became the first Trinidadian to win a gold Olympic medal in the 100m sprint, with a time of 10.06s.  Don Quarrie of Jamaica came 2nd, with 10.08s. It was the first time the Caribbean dominated an Olympic event in such fashion, winning gold and silver.

Hasely Crawford (T&T) and Don Quarrie (Jam)

Hasely Crawford (T&T) and Don Quarrie (Jam)

On August 16th, 2008, 32 years after the Montreal Games, the results were reversed!  Yet, the Caribbean dominated!

Jamaican Usain “Lightning” Bolt ran at lightspeed to take the gold with a time of 9.69s, smashing his own World record in the process!  Trinidadian Richard “Torpedo” Thompson led the rest of the pack (literally) with a time of 9.89s to take the silver!

Richard Thompson (T&T) and Usain Bolt (Jam)

Richard Thompson (T&T) and Usain Bolt (Jam)

For the first time in Olympic history, six of the eight finalists were from the Caribbean!

  • Jamaica:3
  • Trinidad and Tobago:2
  • Netherlands Antilles:1
  • USA:2

In 1976, 0.02s separated gold and silver.  In 2008, that difference widened to 0.2s!

As a Trinidadian, I’m happy, and as a Caribbean man, I’m damn proud!  We don’t have anything near to the US, UK and the rest of the developed world when it comes to modern athletic facilities and programs.  The fact Caribbean athletes have been present and consistently improving in all Olympic showings since 1976 is testament to not only the natural blessings of athletic talent on our shores, but the hardwork, dedication and skill of the coaches and their homespun training programs.

Interestingly enough, August 16th was also Hasely Crawford’s birthday.  Also interesting to note is that the winners of both men’s and women’s 100m beat the silver medallist by 0.2s!

What makes Usain’s win all the more remarkable is that:

  • He won running with one shoelace untied,
  • This is his first Olympic showing,
  • He actually prefers to run the 200m sprint,
  • He actually slowed down (to celebrate winning) when others were running at full pelt, and still won!
  • When he set the record at 9.72s, he’d only run five (5) 100m races at an International level!

I’m looking forward to both the Men’s and Women’s 200m, 400m and their respective relays.  I’m thinking that both men’s & women’s 200m races will be tense, as the American team will be looking to better their single bronze medal showing in these games.

Richard Thompson?  The man was a veritable unknown to me, to be honest.  I was more focussed on the efforts of Trinidadians Marc Burns and Darrel Brown!  He’s come a long way, and to be able to actually lead the 100m for the first 5 or 6 seconds before he was overtaken by Bolt says a lot about his talent and skill.  He kept his form and composure, knowing fully well that the race was not to beat Bolt, but to beat the rest of the pack… which he did.

What’s also a bit upsetting to me is all this talk of the use of steriods and performance enhancing drugs by the Jamaican athletes.  Asafa complained that they were being tested excessively.

Has anyone said the same about Michael Phelps?

I’m not putting my head on a block for anyone; after all, the sprints have always been tarnished with doping allegations (Ben Johnson and Marion Jones, anyone?), but I guess the bitter must always accompany the sweet.

I hope Team USA walked with their sugar pills.

From the looks of things, Jamaica has a few more bitter pills for them to swallow!  🙂

Peace and Much Love,

jw

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6 Responses to “Caribbean Cruise”


  1. 1 Mike
    August 18, 2008 at 11:56 am

    The reason Jamaican athletes have been tested so often in Beijing, is that, unlike most other countries, Jamaica has no drug testing progam throughout the year. (The same is also true of Kenya and Ethiopia.) So when athletes from countries without systematic drug testing take all the medals, people tend to be suspicious.

  2. August 18, 2008 at 1:24 pm

    Oh… 😕

    Thanks for the clarification, Mike!

    I have no beef with the frequent testing, as its supposed to ensure that everything is fair and balanced.

    The thing is, weren’t most of the sprinters caught using illegal performance enhancers from the US, UK, or Canada, where they’re supposedly tested more often due to their formalised drug testing programs?

  3. August 18, 2008 at 1:36 pm

    In the final analysis, I have no issue with the frequent testing, and I really, really hope that all Jamaica’s runners test clean now and forever.

    It will be very, very disheartening to all Caribbean people to know that the secret of the Jamaican victories lay in their syringes and not in their sinews!

    😕

    Thanks for commenting, Mike.

  4. August 18, 2008 at 1:47 pm

    That is why the Olympics are so good. It’s not only about favorites but those who are truly inspired to perform. Motivation and training is what it takes to be your best. I particularly liked the Jamaican triple play. But as much as gold is gold I think Silver was quick 🙂

  5. August 18, 2008 at 2:09 pm

    *slaps forehead and shakes head*

    LOL!

    Now I know why you chose your sobriquet! 🙂

    Thanks for commenting AKA_LOL!

  6. August 18, 2008 at 5:42 pm

    Mike, not a ting no go soh. They do testing in Jamaica just as everywhere else. How come no body not asking to bout testing for Michael Phelps?

    http://www.nytimes.com/2008/07/20/sports/olympics/20sprinters.html

    “The country’s so small, if you take drugs, you would be embarrassed,” said Michael Frater, who qualified in the 100. “In the States, it’s big, so you can move around, but here, you can’t move.”

    Two Jamaican sprinters who trained in the United States flunked steroids tests when they came home for national championships: Jarrett in 2001 and Steve Mullings, who ran for Mississippi State, in 2004.

    “I caught them,” said Dr. Herb Elliott, the public health officer in charge of athletic drug testing during competitions on the island. “We’re vigilant.”

    Several Jamaican stars, including Powell’s older brother, Donovan, have tested positive for stimulants.

    Ellen Campbell-Grizzle, the director of the National Council on Drug Abuse, said surveys of Jamaican adults and teenagers showed “0.0000 percent” had used steroids. “We have other fish to fry,” she said.

    At the same time, surely no one would be so naïve to think that there are no performance-enhancing drugs here. “It’s third world, so there is not that much availability here,” the sprinter Dwight Thomas said.

    Mills, Bolt’s coach, said: “There is always the possibility of someone getting tempted, but by and large Jamaica does not have a drug culture as it pertains to sports. Some have been caught, but not when they train full time in Jamaica.”

    Juliet Cuthbert, a former Jamaican Olympic sprinter, said she worked with an American coach who encouraged her to use drugs. She left him, she said, and coached herself.


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