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Jamaica to Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games - A Recap

RESPONSE: by Deon Clarke

When you have to wait every 4 years to see the world’s finest sporting talents, it’s an awesome experience and indeed a blessing. This is where the best of the best convene in an explosive display of talents in all different sporting events. This is one of the times when Jamaicans come together as one. What am I talking about? The Summer Olympic Games of course!

The 2020 Olympic games held in Tokyo, Japan was somewhat different this time around. First of all, it was actually held in 2021! Secondly it was held with limited audience- empty seats almost everywhere! Due to Covid-19 pandemic, it was an impossible task to host it in 2020 and so the prestigious games had to be pushed back to 2021 (July 23 – August 8, 2021). This was still a challenge but with the valiant efforts of the organizers and the participants, it was made a reality. Despite the setbacks, Team Jamaica was well prepared for its 17th appearance in the games and they certainly made us proud. Let’s take a look at their journey.

For the 2020 Olympic games, Jamaica presented 48 participants across 6 sporting disciplines. Sprinter Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce and boxer Ricardo Brown were Jamaica’s flag bearers at the opening ceremony. The Tokyo dream resulted in a total of 9 medals. Jamaica ranked 21st out of 206 countries overall and finished 5th in medal tally for track and field events. Undoubtedly another remarkable achievement! Demish Gaye, 4x400m runner was Jamaica’s flag bearer for the closing ceremony.

Of course you know, when we talk about Olympics and Jamaica we’re mainly talking about the track and field aspect. However, over the years Jamaica matriculated to other disciplines of the games and competed in other events including swimming, diving and even gymnastics this time around. Over the years, Jamaica had made its mark through the likes of Merlene Ottey, Usain Bolt, Asafa Powell, Veronica Campbell-Brown and the list goes on. Though these athletes have since retired, Jamaica still has many more from the pool, new and existing. Elaine Thompson-Herah and Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce, the fastest women in the world never fail to deliver an excellent performance.

There wasn’t much of the usual gathering at Half-Way Tree square or the knocking of pot covers all over the island when Jamaica struck gold or any other medal. This time around, the buzz was on Facebook and other social media. The pandemic had us cornered but we still congratulated and cheered them on!

Now let’s dig in to the details.

The Amazing Highlights

A Golden Performance – 4

  • Elaine Thompson-Herah (the golden girl) delivered gold both in the women’s 100m and 200m events – a historic achievement. Even greater still she delivered 10.61 to break to 100m Olympic record of 10.62, (previously held by Florence Joyner of the United States) making her the fastest woman in the world.

  • The Women’s 4x100m relay team comprising of Remona Burchell, Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce, Shericka Jackson, Natasha Morrison, Elaine Thompson-Herah, and Briana Williams delivered gold in that event.

  • Hansle Parchment delivered a long awaited gold in the 110m hurdles event.

A Streak Of Silver – 1

Shelly-Ann Fraser Pryce delivered silver in the women’s 100m event. This is her 8th Olympic Medal.

Bronze Goodness - 4

  • Shericka Jackson delivered a bronze in the women’s 100m event. This was the icing on the cake. The women’s 100m race completed dominated by Jamaica - 1,2,3.

  • Megan Tapper delivered a bronze in the women’s 100m hurdles event making her the first Jamaican woman ever to medal in this event.

  • Ronald Levy did his best beside Parchment to delivered a bronze in the men’s 110m hurdles event

  • The women’s 4x400m relay team comprising of Junelle Bromfield, Shericka Jackson, Roneisha McGregor, Janieve Russell, and Stacey-Ann Williams delivered a bronze medal

Please see the below link for more details of the list of competitors and categories along with medal count and results:

Yes folks, once again the black, green and gold made its mark. Amazing performances and number of personal bests! I thought that the highlight for me was when we smashed the women’s 100m race with the 1,2,3 but when I heard of Hansle Parchment’s experience where he almost missed the race as he had made a wrong turn but was assisted by a “good Samaritan” and went back later to say thanks and bearing gifts, that was it for me. Just to know that despite the odds, he was assisted by a stranger, and this significantly contributed to him getting a gold medal. A small act of kindness certainly goes a long way- a lesson to all!

What about you? What was your highlight moment? Be sure to let us know!

As Jamaicans, we are so accustomed to getting medals, especially gold, that we sometimes forget what the athletes have actually undergone to represent our country. They have had to train for long hours (while doing actual 9-5), suffer through injuries and not to mention the psychological and emotional battles they themselves go through when they walk away from the games without a medal. Our talented and dedicated athletes deserve our support whether receive a medal or not. especially the injuries or even just making it to a final. We are blessed to be amongst those countries who are able to return home with some of the most decorated athletes in the world. So Kudos to Team Jamaica for the 2020 Tokyo Olympic games!!.

It’s only three years to go for the next Olympic games in Paris in 2024. Hopefully the Covid-19 pandemic will be over, the stands will be filled once again, and the cheers will echo from Jamaica to Paris. See you there!!

See also: The Most Popular Sports Played In Jamaica.

Editor's Note
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