"All I can say is, ‘Yo! Jamaican sprinters taking over the world!’" said Usain Bolt, who has, for my money been the preeminent star of these games–even bigger than eight-time gold medal winner Michael Phelps.
Jamaican athletes won five of the six Olympic track medals but a botched handoff in the women’s 400 relay prevented them from winning all six. The US was 0-6, a tally predicted by the great track coach Ron Davis who saw the trials and simply said to me, "This won’t be pretty." At six-foot-five, barely resembling a sprinter so much as an NFL wide receiver, the breathtaking Bolt led the way for Jamaica’s gold rush. Bolt set world records in the 100 and 200 meters during the games and raced a blistering third leg of the relay.
The question is how? How has Jamaica, a nation of 2.8 million people, sothoroughly humbled the world? The climate helps. The poverty in Jamaicahelps as well. But what really deserves most of the credit is Jamaica’ s thirty-year-old national track & field program. Track is like the NFL inJamaica, a national sport whose heroes are held in the highest esteem.Of the forty-six medals won by Jamaica in Olympic history, forty-five have been in track. Success has bred success. Now Jamaica is the global champion intheir national sport.
There will be a party in Kingston tonight.