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Friday, December 4, 2015

Athletics in Jamaica: the 1930s to 1980s

de bene esse: literally, of well-being, morally acceptable but subject to future validation or exception

In 75 years, Jamaica has won 38 Commonwealth Golds, 12 World Championship Golds and 13 Olympic gold medals in athletics alone. Jamaica has a population of 2.6 million people the 137th biggest country in the world by population. Their current Gross domestic Product (GDP) nominally is $11.2 billion which ranks 108th in the world.


In 1930, Jamaica entered its first athletics team in an international competition. It was the 1930 Central American and Caribbean Games. Joseph Mackenzie won a silver medal in the high jump with a jump of 1.75 m. In 1934 Jamaica had another first  when a team entered the British Empire Games (now known as the Commonwealth Games) the team won a silver in swimming and Bernard Leopold Prendergast won a bronze in the discus throw with a throw of 40.23 m. Their first major athletics medal.


The first years of the forties was interrupted by the Second World War. Three years after the war, in 1948, Jamaica made their first ever Olympic appearance at the London Olympics and surprised the world by winning 1 gold and two silver medals. The medals were won by Arthur Wint and Herbert Mckenley and exploded a great sprinting tradition. These two men, regarded as the pioneers of Jamaican athletics, was solidified in the 400 m final in which McKenley ran out of steam in the last 100 m and Wint passed him to become Jamaica’s first Olympic Gold Medallist. Wint narrowly missed out on a Gold in the 800 m but still went home a hero. continue ...
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