This summer millions sat glued to their televisions as athletes of every color, creed and country crouched down at starting lines intent on breaking records at the 2012 London Olympic games. While all of the athletes were impressive, many were struck by the ability and tenacity of the Jamaican team. As the games came to a close, Jamaican athletes had earned 10 medals to take from home from London. Impressively, the men’s 4×100 team also set a new world record when they completed the race in just 36.84 seconds.
One of the most notable moments facts about Jamaica’s Olympic pursuits is the steady improvements teams have made from competition to competition. Before the Sydney Olympic games in 2000, Jamaicans rarely won more than 5 medals. In many Olympics, like the 1972 Munich games, just one athlete would bring a medal home. However, in London 8 athletes received medals.
Today, the most famous Jamaican athlete is likely to be Usain Bolt, aptly named considering he is currently the fastest man on the planet. In London he broke the world record for the 100-meter dash when he completed the race in just 9.72 seconds. Formerly the most famous Jamaican athletes were the 1988 bobsled team who debuted in the Calgary games and became household favorites that inspired a movie named Cool Runnings.
Jamaica typically brings home more medals per capita than the competition and, if medals per capita had been a competition, the country would have taken silver. And though it is typically track and field that catches the world’s attention, Jamaica has actually won in a diverse array of events from boxing to cycling.
Even though the next games are still two years away, many cannot wait to see what programs develop next.