The 2008 games ended with a bang Sunday and now it’s on to London 2012 for the next summer Olympics.
Beijing was a landmark year for Caribbean athletes, with Jamaicans dominating the sprints taking 11 medals, six gold, three silver and two bronze to be ranked 13th overall, followed by Cuba in 28th with two gold, 11 silver and 11 bronze; Dominican Republic, 46th with one gold and one silver; Trinidad and Tobago, 60th, two silvers and the Bahamas, 65th with a silver and a bronze.
With 204 countries participating and only 81 receiving at least one medal, this result was yeoman for countries with such relatively small populations and little material resources.
In 2012 Jamaica will be celebrating 50 years of political independence from Great Britain. In 2012 it will be 64 years since Jamaica first performed at the moden Olympics and did very well, laying the foundation for the strong tradition of success and excellence in track and field athletics.
After 60 years of Olympic performance Jamaica achieved sprinting supremacy in 2008 in Beijing by winning all sprint races except the 4x100m relay for women, 400m sprint for men and women, 400m hurdle for men, 110m hurdle for men and 100m hurdle for women.
In 2012, Jamaica should target geting medals in all 14 track sprint events for men and women in flat and hurdle races to beat the 2008 haul of 11 medals. That would be a fitting message to its once colonial masters that after 50 years Jamaica can at least boast one area where it is undoubtedly a world leader led by descendants of slaves of the rural peasantry and urban inner-cities/ghettos/gully banks*.
|17 Aug||100m W||1||G||Shelly-Ann Fraser (JAM)|
|16 Aug||100m M||1||G||Usain Bolt (JAM)|
|21 Aug||200m W||1||G||Veronica Campbell-Brown (JAM)|
|20 Aug||200m M||1||G||Usain Bolt (JAM)|
|20 Aug||400m Hurdles W||1||G||Melaine Walker (JAM)|
|22 Aug||4 x 100m Relay M||1||G||Jamaica (JAM)|
|17 Aug||100m W||2||S||Sherone Simpson (JAM)|
|19 Aug||400m W||2||S||Shericka Williams (JAM)|
|17 Aug||100m W||2||S||Kerron Stewart (JAM)|
|21 Aug||200m W||3||B||Kerron Stewart (JAM)|
|23 Aug||4 x 400m Relay W||3||B||Jamaica (JAM)|
*Jamaican gullies are open, paved waste water and drainage ways and the poor often build houses on land they capture along the banks. The resulting communities are usually crime ridden and the gully courses usually are escape routes for criminals. After his wins in Beijing, Usain Bolt did the “gully creeper” dance now popular on the island – a celebration of survival instincts.