Sports

 

Throughout our history, Jamaicans have always excelled in sports. From Cricket to Football, Tennis to Badminton, Dominoes to Backgammon, Track and Field, Netball and Boxing. We have many pioneers and icons within these sports that have always been shining examples of skill and determination that show the world just how talented Jamaicans are. 

Here are just a few of these positive reflections of the Jamaican spirit: 

 

Arthur Wint, O.J.

Track & Field

May 25, 1920 – October 19, 1992

Birthplace: Manchester, Jamaica

  • First Jamaican Olympic gold medallist, winning the 400m at the 1948 Olympics
  • Gold medal – 4x400m relay at the 1952 Olympics
  • Silver medal - 800m 1948 & 1952 Olympics
  • In 1938 at age seventeen, he won his first international medal, Gold in the 800m at the Central American and Caribbean (CAC) Games.
  • In 1946 he won Gold in 400, 800 and 4x400 metres races at the CAC games
  • Served as Jamaica's High Commissioner to London between 1973 and 1978
  • After retiring from sport he went on to practice as a medical doctor in Jamaica

 

 

 

Herb McKenley, O.M

Track & Field

July 10, 1922 – November 26, 2007

Birthplace: Clarendon, Jamaica

  • First Jamaican to be awarded an athletic scholarship to an American university
  • He was among the first Jamaicans to participate in the Olympics (London in 1948) where he won a silver medal in the 400m
  • Won  gold medal in the 4x400m relay and silver in the 100m and 400m at the 1952 Olympics
  • Won silver in the 100m and gold in the 4x400m at the 1946 CAC games and gold in the 100 and 200 metres  at the 1950 games
  • After retiring from sports, McKenley coached the Jamaican national team from 1954 to 1973 and also served as president of Jamaica Amateur Athletics Association

 

Donald Quarrie, C.D.

Track & Field

Born February, 25 1951 

Birthplace: Kingston, Jamaica

  • Competed in five Olympic Games and won medals in 3 consecutive games (1976, 1980 and 1984) - the first male athlete to do so
  • First Jamaican to win an Olympic Gold medal in a sprint event, 200m at the 1976 Olympics
  • He also has three other Olympic medals, silver-100m (1976), bronze-200m (1980) and silver-4x100m relay (1984)
  • At the Commonwealth Games,1970 and 1974, he won the gold medals in both the 100m and 200m
  • A statue in his likeness is proudly positioned at the entrance to Jamaica's National Stadium
  • There is also a school (Donald Quarrie High School) that bears his name in Eastern Kingston
  • He is currently an executive member of the Jamaica Amateur Athletic Association.

 

Michael Holding

Cricket

Born February 16, 1954 

Birthplace: Kingston, Jamaica

Test Career: 1975 - 1987

  • Holding is one of the fastest pace bowlers ever to play Test cricket, he was nicknamed 'Whispering Death' & Rolls Royce by umpires due to his quiet approach to the bowling crease. He continues to be involved in test as a commentator
  • He was one of  Wisden’s Cricketer of the Year in 1977
  • In the 1976 test against England Holding took 14 for 149 runs, best bowling figures by a West Indian, including 8 for 92.
  • In 1976 he also took  5 or 9 runs in 7.5 overs in England’s second innings
  • During his test career he took 249 wickets in 60 tests.
  •  In 2003 he was appointed ambassador-at-large by the Jamaican Government

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Jeff Dujon

Cricket

Born 28 May 1956

Birthplace: Kingston, Jamaica

Test Career: 1981 - 1992

  • The wicket-keeper for the West Indian cricket team of the 1980s, an athletic presence behind the stumps as well as a competent lower-order batsman
  • As a batsman he scored nearly 10,000 runs at an average approaching 40 runs per innings, an impressive statistic when compared to other specialist wicket-keepers over time,  and and as a wicket-keeper,  447 catches and 22 stumpings
  • He was named Jamaica’s Sportsman of the Year in 1989
  • Since retiring as a player in 1992, has worked as assistant coach to the West Indies national team and in development of young cricket players in Jamaica.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Mike McCallum, O.D.

Boxing

Born December 7, 1956

Birthplace: Kingston, Jamaica

  • Jamaica’s most celebrated and accomplished boxer to date

  • He ended his amateur career with a 240-10 record

  • He won a gold medal at the Commonwealth Games in 1978, and a silver medal at the Pan American Games, in 1979. McCallum became a professional in 1981 and won his first world title, the WBA junior middleweight title in 1984, by defeating Luigi Minchillo of Italy

  • He went on to win the WBA world middleweight title in 1989 by defeating Herol Graham and later became WBC light heavyweight champion of the world in 1994, with a victory over Jeff Harding

  • He retired in 1997 with a record of 49 wins (36 knockouts) five losses and a draw

  • Although he was a stylish boxer with a lethal left jab, he was nicknamed “The Body Snatcher” because of his fierce body attacks against his opponents

  • McCallum was inducted into the Boxing Hall of Fame, Los Angeles in 2002, and the International Boxing Hall of Fame in 2003 and was named Jamaica’s Sportsman of the Year seven times between 1978 and 1990

 

Merlene Ottey, O.D.

Track & Field

Born May 10, 1960 

Birthplace: Hanover, Jamaica

  • In the 1980 Moscow games, Merlene Ottey became the first female English-speaking Caribbean athlete to win an Olympic medal
  • She is one of the most decorated athletes with 9 Olympic medals (6 bronze, 3 silver) and 14 World Championship medals
  • She holds the record for running the fastest Women's Indoor 200m (21.87 seconds), for having the most Olympic appearances (seven), and for having the most women's World Championships medals (fourteen)
  • Ottey was awarded both the Order of Nation and the Order of Distinction by the Jamaican government

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Courtney Walsh

Cricket

Born October 30, 1962

Birthplace: Kingston, Jamaica

Test Career: 1984 - 2001

  • Walsh is best known for a remarkable opening bowling partnership along with fellow West Indian Curtly Ambrose for several years and holding the record of most Test wickets (519)
  • In 1984, Walsh took 10 wickets in a Test match
  • In 1987, Walsh was named as one of the Wisden Cricketers of the Year
  • In 1995, he took 62 Test wickets at an average of 21.75 runs per wicket,
  • In 2000 he took 66 Test wickets at an average of 18.69, including 34 wickets in the Test series against England
  • Walsh is one of only four bowlers to have bowled over 5000 overs in Test cricket
  • Walsh holds the record for the most Test ducks (43), but also for the most "not outs" - 61 times
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Patrick Ewing

Basketball

Born August 5, 1962

Birthplace: Kingston, Jamaica

  • Warrior is the one word most often used to describe Patrick Ewing after 17 years at the very top of professional basketball’s most competitive league
  • One of the finest shooting centres to ever play in the NBA, he left the game as the New York Knicks' all-time leader in nearly every significant category, and the game's 13th all-time scoring leader with 24,815 points.
  • Patrick arrived in New York in 1985 after a much-ballyhooed career at Georgetown University that included one NCAA title and appearances in two other championship games.  
  • A media star since his schoolboy days, the anticipation of his NBA debut at Madison Square Garden – basketball’s Mecca - was unprecedented, and he was ultimately named NBA Rookie of the Year in 1985.
  • What followed was a sterling career that spanned 11 All-Star appearances and countless other individual achievements. Ewing was an Olympic gold medalist on the 1984 Dream Team and won gold again in 1992. He led the Knicks all the way to the NBA Finals in 1994 but lost to the Houston Rockets in seven games. In 1996 he was honoured as “One of the 50 Greatest Players in NBA History” and in 2008 he was inducted into the Basketball Hall of Fame

 

The Bobsled Team
  • The Jamaican four-man bobsled team made its debut at the 1988 Winter Olympics in Calgary, Alberta. They quickly became fan favorites as the ultimate 'underdog' story of the games with the added cachet of representing a tropical country in a cold-weather sport
  • They did not officially finish after losing control of the sled and crashing during one of their four runs , however, they showed significant improvement throughout the games and impressed observers with some fast starts. After crashing, they famously got out of their sled and walked with it to the finish line to thunderous applause
  • This team was the inspiration for a major motion picture, Cool Runnings. The characters in the film are fictional, although actual footage of the crash is used during the film
  • The team returned to the Olympics in 1992 and  again  in 1994. The 1994 Jamaican four-man sled stunned many of their critics by finishing in 14th place, ahead of the United States, Russia, Australia, France and one sled from Italy.
  • In 2000, the Jamaican bobsled team won the gold medal at the World Push Championships in Monaco

 

Veronica Campbell-Brown, C.D.

Track & Field

Born May 15, 1982

Birthplace: Trelawny, Jamaica

  • Five-time Olympic medalist; 3 gold - 200m (2004 & 2008) and 4x100m relay (2004); 1 silver – 4x100m relay (2000); 1 bronze - 100m (2004)
  • At the 2008 Beijing Olympics, she became the second woman in history to  win the 200m back-to-back
  • First Jamaican female to win an Olympic sprint gold medal
  • World Championship medalist – 1 gold, 5 silver
  • Her 200m best (21.74 seconds) ranks her in the all-time top ten in the world

 

 

 

 

Asafa Powell, C.D.

Track & Field

Born November 23, 1982

Birthplace: St. Catherine, Jamaica

  • Former 100m world record holder at 9.74 seconds
  • Powell has consistently broken the 10-second barrier in competition, with his personal best of 9.72 being the fourth fastest time in the history of the event. 
  • He has run the most sub-ten seconds times in the 100m
  • At the 2008 Olympics he won a gold medal as a part of the team that set the world and Olympic record in the 4×100m relay
  • At the 2007 World Championships he won a bronze and a silver medal in the 100m and 4x100m relay respectively and at the 2009 staging he won bronze in the 100m and a relay goldfor the 4x100m
  • He also won two gold medals and one silver at the Commonwealth Games

 

Sherone Simpson

Track & Field

Born August 12, 1984

Birthplace: Manchester, Jamaica

  • Won the gold medal in the women's 200m at the 2006 Commonwealth Games
  • Silver medalist in the 100m at the 2008 Beijing Olympics after she tied for second with teammate Kerron Stewart in a phot- finish
  • Simpson is a gold medallist in the 4x100m at the 2004 Olympics and silver medalist at the 2005 World Championships

 

Shelly-Ann Fraser, O.D.

Track & Field

Born December 27, 1986

Birthplace: Kingston, Jamaica

  • The first Jamaican woman to win an Olympic gold medal in the 100m (2008, Beijing)
  • Won gold in the 100m and 4x100m relay at the 2009 World Championships
  • Second female sprinter to hold both World and Olympic 100m titles simultaneously
  • Jamaica’s first UNICEF National Goodwill Ambassador
  • National record holder over 100m at 10.73 seconds, which she clocked at the 2009 World Championships

 

Usain Bolt, OJ, C.D.

Track & Field

Born August 21, 1986

Birthplace: Trelawny, Jamaica

  • Current World and Olympic record holder in the 100m(9.58), the 200m(19.19) and (along with his teammates) the 4x100m relay (37.10)
  • Current World Champion for the 100m and 200m
  • First man to hold both the 100 and 200 metres World and Olympic titles at the same time
  • Current World Junior record holder over 200m (19.93)
  • First man since Carl Lewis in 1984 to win the men’s sprint double at the Olympics
  • First man to set world records in three races at a single Olympic Game
  • His achievements in sprinting have earned him the media nickname "Lightning Bolt"
  • Bolt has been awarded the IAAF male World Athlete of the Year (2008 & 2009) and Laureus World Sportsman of the Year (2009 & 2010)
  • The youngest person ever to receive the Order of Jamaica

 

The Sunshine Girls

Netball

Jamaica national netball team, commonly known as the Sunshine Girls, represents Jamaica in international netball competitions. The game of netball was brought to Jamaica at the beginning of the twentieth century by teachers hired from England hired by secondary schools. Initially netball was confined to these schools and teacher training colleges but it soon spread and developed through Jamaica.

The Sunshine Girls are the number one ranked Caribbean netball team and are currently ranked fourth out of over sixty countries in the world. They have consistently participated in every staging of the World Netball Championships since its inception in 1963 and always been ranked in the top five teams. In 1991, 2003 and 2007 Jamaica was placed third in the World Netball Championships, their highest ranking to date. They have played in all three Commonwealth Games netball events to date, having won a bronze medal in 2002. Since 1988 they have placed first in every Caribbean Netball Championships.