Jamaica has proven itself globally as a mighty sprinting power over the last 7 decades. More importantly, it has now stamped it’s dominance in Olympic history since Beijing 2008, London 2012 and leading into Rio 2016, as the world standard bearers. This has been through the face of track field’s icons, Usain Bolt, Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce and Veronica Campbell-Brown.
But, as Jamaica continues to dominate the world of sprinting, we might have to start giving much attention to the quality of our 400m and 800m running events.
Just like any thriving economy, it’s simply cyclical with ups and downs and one has to constantly find ways and means to sustain growth and prosperity.
Well, “It’s other events like the 400m and 800m that need to come into play.”
Our once dominance in the 400m and 4x400m relay, surprisingly, has taken a back seat. This is a distance, which was to be on track at this present moment, based on previous past performances from the 1948 and 1952 Olympics with Arthur Wint and Herb McKenley in 1948, taking the gold and silver, respectively, in the men’s 400m and in 1952, Wint, Leslie Laing, McKenley and George Rhoden taking gold in the 4x400m relay. Rhoden and McKenley, in that order, repeated the 400m 1-2.
Then came the 80’s, Bert Cameron taking 400m gold in the 1983 Helsinki World Champs.
The area of 800m running is one that simply requires some honest attention. This should include equipped knowledge and patience to beautifully execute a plan of making some smart and strategic conversion of some of our 400m athletes into superstars at the 800m distance – an extension of a long sprint! It’s fast, furious and exemplifies greatness when being done in the right manner. It is an event of much intrigue, watched by most people around the world.
Could our very own success in the shorter distances over the last 8 years, lead to our very own demise?
Not so fast! Just thinking about the situation, Jamaica is blessed abundantly with talented athletes, born to run.
Not everyone will be Bolt or Fraser Pryce in their respective events! We need to seriously begin to re create and focus immense attention on creating sprinting queens and kings for the 400m and 800m events – a goal that is easily attainable.
There are HUGE payoffs for investing in the 400m and 800m running events in Jamaica. Develop specialized training camps like MVP and Racers track club. Make it be cool to train and break new grounds in these events.
The opportunities are endless. We need the next pair of coaches to step forward and be BRAVE to enter into a new challenge like Mills and Francis did with their group to produce the next Bolt and Fraser Pryce – like equivalent of athletes, in both the 400m and 800m running events.
As we enter into Rio, anyone reading this article, especially talented coaches needs to get brave, motivated and be inspired to take on the next big challenge – creating world power stars in both the 400m and 800m running events for Jamaica. This could payoff big for the 2020 and 2024 Olympic Games. Are you ready for this, Jamaica?