Jamaican Track and Field performance on the world stage is coming in from the cold period 1976 to 2006. However, it is not at the level to be characterized as Jamaica against the rest of the World. Jamaican track athletes and fans deserve to be jubilant from the performances since 2008 of both the Men and Women. Jamaican athletes as well as the Nation should be proud and motivated by the success and confirmation consistent with the last four letters of country name which spell the words, I can.
Having said all that, any sentiment by Broadcasters or Commentators that hints the success is because these athletes “Stayed Home” is fallacious or, as they would say in Jamaica – Bad Mind. The world has progressed to the extent that Jamaicans who are talented in Track and Field can leave the Island, go to university or reside in another country, and still represent Jamaica. Lennox Miller and Lloyd Fray went to university in the USA but represented Jamaica at championships. Yes, Ben Johnson and Donovan Bailey just to name a couple did not represent Jamaica. Could it be that they were not encouraged by the Jamaican Track organization. There will be a day in the Olympics when Men will line up in the 100 meters, representing different countries, but all being native Jamaican. This inference in no way belittles the Jamaican female athletes and I believe the ladies will agree with me that it is more likely to happen with the Men than the Women.
Jamaican track and Field is coming in from the cold but it is not in the kitchen, yet. Even if you wish to characterize the performances as such, one would have to admit that the results are not like well-cooked Oxtail with the meat rolling off the bone. The Olympics and World Championship is about Track and Field competition. Jamaican track and Field organization needs to broaden scope. It is given now that Jamaican athletes are receiving training and nutrition they will compete if not dominate the 100 and 200 meters. However, they are still required to prove they can in the other sprint events. Am I throwing down the gauntlet, yes I am the talent pool is there. Jamaican track and Field organization needs to broaden scope.
Until Jamaican athletes improve their performance in the following events, the notion that the Nation dominates the sprints is premature. Track has evolved. The following events are now sprints: 110-meter hurdles, 400-meter race, 400-meter hurdles, 800-meter race, and the Mile. When Jamaican athletes are competing and getting medals in those events on a regular basis, they will have truly come in from the cold. In the field events, Jamaican athletes need to improve their performance in the Long Jump, Triple Jump, High Jump, Discus, Shot Put, Swimming, and Gymnastics. Except for Gymnastics, there is a talent pool from the annual High School Boys and Girls championships. The Jamaican track and Field organization needs to do a better job of nurturing the talent.
I have always said that if Jamaicans had the training and resources they would show the world how exciting Track and Field could be. Now that Jamaicans have the training and resources, the challenge is maintaining the pool of Athletes. Jamaica is an Island Nation of Sprinters. Whenretires or even before, there will be someone else. There are dozens of Johan Blake in Jamaica. The world should continue competing but realize that the flow of sprinters from Jamaica is endless as long distance runners from Kenya. Likeness and differences is what makes the world go round, even if it seems that the Jamaicans are running around it.
Remember, Track and Field is an individual activity even if it is in representation of a Team or Country. Just like in previous years, there will be an Athlete from another country other than Jamaica and the USA, who will dominate and be exciting to watch. Reflect on Valeri Borzov of Russia and how he was a formidable sprinter in the 1970’s. In addition, may I remind you that Usain Bolt learned how to lose events before he was able to win. Now he dominates and he is exciting to watch.
The true athletes of civilization are those who compete in Track and Field competition against citizens of their Nation and the International community. People who are truly athletic and gifted are those who excel in Track and Field competition. To be honest I strongly believe that the Best athletes are those who participate at the highest level of Track and Field, Swimming, and Soccer. Those who participate in Football, Baseball, Basketball, Tennis, Golf, etc. are players. There is a major difference between Athletes and Players. To be brutally honest the difference between Athletes and Players is as the difference between a well-bred Race Horse and a Mule or work Horse in the field.
Track and Field teach individualism an attribute that can have an impact on many things He/She does in Life. Track and field despite the fact that you represent a Team or Country, teach individuals how to represent and rely on themselves. It also teach them how to respect and appreciate their opponents in Country and Internationally. Track stars and competitors learn a lot directly, indirectly, consciously, and subconsciously about their fellow human beings regardless of country of origin. Track and Field athletes come to realize that no matter what country you are from the Wants and Needs are the same and that the only difference is Language and Culture.
If we had more Track and Field competition between Nations, there would be fewer wars. If we had more Track and Field competition between Nations, it would not matter what your religion. There would be better understanding, appreciation, and respect among people. Such interaction would give each nation pause before engaging in military conflict. If you could reflect on competing with Usain Bolt on the track and that military conflict with Jamaica might result in his demise, would you not have second and third thoughts about taking such an action? I guarantee that you would if for nothing else to preserve a positive highlight in the History of humankind.
In God, we Trust.