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By Venesha Johnson | Associate Writer
As early as kindergarten, sprinting is introduced to children in the Jamaican school system. As a matter of fact, it is the main event of each school’s yearly Sports Day. Sprinting isn’t just something we excel in at the Olympics but it is a part of our culture, a part of who we are.
Jamaica has won a total of 88 Olympic medals. Although the Jamaica Olympic Association (JAM) was founded and recognized by the IOC (International Olympic Committee) in 1936, Jamaica did not participate in the Summer Games until 1948. Since their first appearance at the Olympics in 1948, Jamaican athletes have participated in every Summer Games, albeit in 1960, they competed under the ill-fated British West Indies (West Indies Federation) banner alongside athletes from Barbados and Trinidad and Tobago.
In total, 31 Jamaican competitors have taken home gold medals at the Olympics, an overall 26 golds for Jamaica. 63 of our competitors have taken home silver medals at the Olympics after winning 35 silvers for Jamaica and we have garnered 25 bronze medals, by 36 of our athletes.
Never, at least not yet. Jamaica has never won the Olympics despite the number of medals we have taken home from these events. The winner of an Olympic game is the country with the most medals at the end of a stage. Even though Jamaica consistently shines and defeats its competitors in the sprints, we have little to no participants in the other areas.
We took home a total of 9 medals at the 2021 Olympics with 4 gold, 1 silver and 4 bronze, ranking them at 5th place overall in track and field.
Author Wint. Jamaican athletes brought home a total of 3 Olympic medals in their 1948 debut. In 1948, when he won the gold in the men's 400 meters and the silver in the 800 meters, Arthur Wint became not only the first Jamaican to win an Olympic gold medal, but also the first to win multiple medals. He was followed in the 400 meters by fellow Jamaican Herb McKenley, who won silver.
Jamaica improved upon its 1948 success in 1952, winning a total of 5 Olympic medals, including 2 gold and 3 silver. The Jamaican team for the men's 4x400 meter relay that won the gold in Helsinki included the returning combination of Wint and McKenley. In the 400-meter race for men, George Rhoden took first place as well. Wint also took home silver in the men's 800 meters, and McKenley also took home silver in the 100 and 400 meters for men.
The amazing Deon Hemmings-MacCatty. The first female athlete from Jamaica and the English Speaking Caribbean, to win an Olympic gold medal was Deon Hemmings-McCatty. When Hemmings won the 400m hurdles at the 1996 Olympics, she broke the Olympic record that had remained until 2004 and became the first Jamaican woman to ever win Olympic gold. At the 2000 Olympics, Hemmings also took home two silver medals in the 400-meter hurdles and the 4400-meter relay.
No, Jamaica has never won an Olympic medal in bobsledding. However, they won a gold medal in the 2000 World Push in Monaco.
Despite participating in the Winter Olympics from early on, Jamaica has never received an Olympic medal in the winter games. Our bobsled team is still up and running though, so all hope is not lost.
The athletes from Jamaica are regarded as one of the sport's enduring giants. Since their debut, just two occasions (1956 and 1964) have occurred where Jamaican athletes failed to win a medal.
The next Olympics will be in Paris, in 2024, and as usual, our Jamaican athletes will stand out. Who will you be cheering for the most?
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