Jamaica’s Runners Steal the Show at the 2020 Tokyo OlympicsAug 05, 2021 09:37AM ● By Oga Africa
Happy Independence Day, Jamaica! On August 6th, 1962, this Caribbean country gained independence from the British. Today we are honoring Jamaican Olympians who are going for and achieving the gold at the Tokyo Olympics.
The Caribbean country, whose slogan is ‘Out of Many One People’ has a significant population that is African descent, with a recorded 91% of Jamaicans identifying as Black in 2011. Jamaicans are continuing to become more notorious for carrying significant weight in Olympic sprinting.
Jamaican athletes who are carrying on the legacy left by household names such as Usain Bolt are making new strides in the 2020 Tokyo Olympics. Three Jamaican women are standing out in the games so far: Elaine Thompson-Herah, Shelly Anne Fraser-Pryce, and Shaneika Thomas Ricketts.
On July 31st, sprinter Elaine Thompson-Herah became the fastest woman alive when she ran the 100 m dash in 10.62 seconds. Thompson-Herah competed against her countrywoman Shelly Anne Fraser-Pryce, who earned the gold medals in the 100 m race consecutively in the 2008 and 2012 Olympics. Although this is Fraser-Pryce’s final Olympics competition, as she is 34, she has made important additions to the legacy of Black athletes who have beaten the odds to succeed in this international sphere. Thompson-Herah, who is 29, has more time to break more records.
Now that Thompson-Herah has won the title, Jamaica’s reputation as an Olympic powerhouse is snowballing, as the Olympic 100 m dash winner will stay in the country for the third year.
Shaneika Thomas Ricketts, who was the 2nd ranked jumper globally, placed 4th in the Olympic triple jump on August 2nd.
The Tokyo Olympics are not yet over, but one thing is for certain: Jamaicans are taking athletics to the next level. Watch out for them as the 2020 Olympics continue to unfold, and at the 2024 Olympics in Paris.