Home Sport Women became the shining stars of Jamaica's athletics this Olympics

Women became the shining stars of Jamaica’s athletics this Olympics

Jamaica has had an extraordinally festive summer thanks to their sweep of the women’s 100m race in the Olympics on July 31. That the country’s emancipation day falls on August 2, followed by Independence Day on August 6, means Jamaica has a lot to celebrate.

On the morning of July 31, the country achieved a 1-2-3 finish in the women’s 100m with gold medalist Elaine Thompson-Herah breaking Florence Griffith Joyner’s 1988 Olympics record. Jamaica’s dominance in the track is nothing new — the country is home to the fastest man and woman alive, Usain Bolt and Thompson-Herah respectively. Their dominance of the sport does not end there with 10 of the 12 women’s 100m medals since 2008 going to Jamaicans. 

Thompson-Herah expressed her excitement on Twitter thanking God for her win. 

Thompson-Herah believed the world record would have been in her reach had she not started celebrating early on in the race, but hasn’t ruled it out as a possibility in the future. In an interview with Yahoo! Sport, Thompson-Hera said, “I have more years. I’m just 29. I’m not 30. I’m not 40. I’m still working.”

A few months before the Olympics, participating at all in the race seemed like a pipe dream for Thompson-Herah. “Two months ago, maybe a month and a half ago, I didn’t think I would be here (because of an Achilles injury). I held my composure,” said Thompson-Hera.

But her faith saw her through, “I believed in myself, I believed in God. The team around me is very strong, I get the support and I believe in myself.”

Sha’Carri Richardson, who was a favorite to win the gold in the women’s 100m until her suspension, tweeted her support for the winners. 

While Jamaica’s women continued the country’s history of dominance in track during the Tokyo Olympics, their male counterparts flailed.

The day after Jamaica’s women swept the 100m not a single Jamaican was a contender during the final for the men’s 100m. 

Bolt saw this decline coming. In an interview with ESPN he said “I felt like we had a good crop of [male] athletes for the last couple of Olympics, so for me, it really bothers me to know that this is where we are right now, where most of the world is ahead of us. So going into the men’s, it’s going to be tough … I’m just disappointed because I think we do have the talent, it’s just to harvest it and people to take the training seriously and get it done.”

Andre Lowe, sports editor for the Jamaica Gleaner cites the tendency to go pro straight out of high school as a cause of the absence. “The collegiate system helps them to develop commitment and dedication,” Lowe said.

Sam Stewart
Sam Stewart
Sam Stewart is a Culturas writing intern. She is currently a junior studying Cinema and Media Studies at the University of Southern California. Her passion for film and media has made her particularly passionate about issues at the intersection of race and entertainment.
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