By: Devon Anderson and Dwight Fraser
On a day when Jamaica celebrated the 121st birthday anniversary of Marcus Mosiah Garvey, the country’s sprint queen Shelley-Ann Fraser as well as gold and silver medal winners Kerron Stewart and Sherone Simpson, celebrated their clean sweep of the women’s 100 meters at the Beijing 2008 Olympics in China.
Fraser stormed to a life time best 10.78 seconds to win Jamaica’s first ever Olympic gold in the women’s 100 meter finals; leading the sweep with Simpson and Stewart, as both clocked identical 10.98 seconds in a dead-heat for second.
This was a phenomenal accomplishment for all three athletes as they broke world history in the 100 meter race. No other country can boast having three winners represented on the podium for the 100 meter women’s Olympic final.
Although it was the first time ever that three female athletes from the same country took the top three places in an Olympic track final, American male sprinters have been first second and third on two previous occasions; in 1906 in Athens and during the 1912 Olympics in Stockholm. The most recent occasion of seeing three athletes from the same country on a medal podium was in the triple jump in 2004 when three Russian athletes took all the medals on offer.
Undoubtedly well prepared both physically and mentally, the Jamaican athletes have shown extraordinary strength in Beijing.
Some Jamaicans have linked the marvelous winning streak to the birthday celebration of a great Jamaican; as Garvey, who was well known for his insistence on discipline and the importance of self-belief once said, "Mental preparation is the key to success in any discipline."
All three female medal winners qualified to compete at the Olympics because of their placing in the Jamaica trials where Stewart came in first, Fraser second and Simpson third.
Veronica Campbell the former world 100 meter champion did not qualify for the Olympic 100 meter race because she came in fourth at the trials in Jamaica. Campbell will be running the 200 meter at these Olympics.
Later on in Beijing, all three 100 meter winners will run in the 4 by 100 meter relay with Campbell as the fourth person on that team.
In another event that took place this morning in Beijing, Danny McPharlane from Jamaica finished fourth in the 400 meter finals with the US taking first, second and third; also Jamaican. Keina Sinclair finished sixth in the 800 meter finals for women.
Photographs by: Jamaica Observer