Jamaicans are known the world over for their winning ways in track and field sports, especially in the sprint, but did you know that Jamaican women have officially been clocked at under 11 seconds over the 100-meter distance? The statistics have been collected by World Athletics and are based on results from 31 December 1899 through 14 August 2023, from world senior women’s outdoor 100-meter competitions.
Jamaican Women Break the 11-second Barrier in the 1990s
The first Jamaican woman to run the 100 meters in under 11 seconds was Juliet Cuthbert who clocked 10.83 seconds over the distance at the Estadio Olímpico in Barcelona, Spain, on 1 August 1992. Cuthbert, who competed in four Olympic Games and won two silver medals in Barcelona, was born in St. Thomas in 1964 and went on to enter Jamaican politics as a representative of St. Andrew West Rural. She attended Morant Bay High School in Jamaica, Olney High School in Philadelphia, and the University of Texas at Austin. While at university, she was named the best female collegiate track and field competitor in the United States in 1986. She later served as State Minister in the Ministry of Health and Wellness.
In September of 1996, Merlene Ottey ran the distance in 10.74 seconds at the Arena Civica in Milan, Italy. Ottey was born in May 1960 in Hanover, Jamaica, and attended Gurneys Mount and Pondside Schools prior to graduating from Rusea’s and Vere Technical high schools. As a Jamaican Slovenian athlete, she began representing Jamaica in 1978, continuing her representation for 24 years. She represented Slovenia from 2002 to 2012 and is ranked 8th on the all-time list over the 100-meter distance. She was named Jamaica’s Sportswoman of the Year 13 times between 1979 and 1995 and won nine Olympic medals, 14 World Championship medals, still as of 2017 held the record for most medals in individual events with 10.
Beverly McDonald ran the 100 meters in 10.99 seconds in 1998. She was born in 1970 in St. Mary. She won a silver medal at the 2000 Olympics in the 4×100 meter relay and a gold medal in the 2004 Olympics in the same event. In the Summer Olympics of 2000 she won a bronze medal in the 200 meters.
Between 1999 and 2023, 20 Jamaican Women Clocked Sub-11 Seconds
Some of the fastest times recorded over the 100 meters by Jamaica’s women runners were achieved in 2021 when Elaine Thompson-Herah and Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce who ran the distance in 10.54 and 10.60 seconds, respectively. Natasha Morrison ran the distance in 10.87 seconds as well. Thompson-Herah is the first female sprinter in history to win the Olympic “sprint double” of the 100 and 200-meter events and just the second sprinter after fellow Jamaican Usain Bolt to do so at consecutive Olympics, winning gold at the 2016 Rio Olympics and at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics. She broke the 11-second barrier at Hayward Field in Eugene, Oregon, on 21 August 2021. Fraser-Pryce has been named the third-fastest woman in history and is considered by many to be the greatest female sprinter of all time. Just a few days after Thompson-Herah broke the time barrier, Fraser-Pryce achieved her 10.60 time at the Stade Olympique de la Pontaise in Lausanne, Switzerland, on 26 August 2021. Natasha Morrison was born in St. Catherine in 1992 and represented Jamaica at the 2015 World Championships in Beijing where she finished in seventh place in the 100 meters and won a gold medal in the 4 × 100 meter relay. She ran the 100 meters in 10.87 seconds in April 2021 at the Tropical Park Track, in Miami, Florida.
5 Jamaican Women Ran Sub-11 Seconds in 2022
In 2022, five Jamaican sprinters clocked the distance under 11 seconds, including Kemba Nelson (10.88) at National Stadium, Kingston, Jamaica, on 24 June 2022; Tina Clayton (10.95) at Pascual Guerrero Stadium, Cali, Colombia, on 3 August 2022; Kevona Davis (10.95) at Terry & Linda Fuller T&F Complex, Lubbock, Texas on May 14, 2022; Natalliah Whyte (10.97) at Jax Track at Hodges Stadium, Jacksonville, Florida, on April 30, 2022; and Briana Williams (10.94) at National Stadium, Kingston, on 24 June 2022.
4 Jamaican Women Ran Sub-11 Seconds in 2023
The trend among Jamaica’s female athletes to run the 100 meters in less than 11 seconds continued in 2023 when four sprinters achieved the result. Shericka Jackson clocked 10.65 seconds on 7 July 2023, at National Stadium in Kingston, while Alana Reid ran the distance in 10.92 seconds, also at National Stadium, in March 2023. Shashalee Forbes was timed at 10.96 seconds on 7 July 2023, while Kiara Grant ran the 100 meters in 10.99 seconds on 5 April 2023, at Percy Beard Track in Gainesville, Florida.
Earlier Achievements Under 11 Seconds
In earlier years, Jamaica’s athletes maintained the effort, including, by year: 2017 Schillionie Calvert (10.94) in Mesa, Arizona, on June 10, 2017; 2016 Christania Williams (10.96) at the Estádio Olympics, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, on August 13, 2016; 2013 Carrie Russell (10.98) in Letzigrund, Zürich, Switzerland, on August 29, 2013; 2011 Veronica Campbell Brown (10.76) at Mestský Stadion, Ostrava, Czechoslovakia, on May 31, 2011; 2009 Kerron Stewart (10.75) at the Stadio Olimpico in Rome, Italy, on July 10, 2009; 2008 Simone Facey (10.95) in Boulder, Colorado, on May 18, 2008; 2006 Sherone Simpson (10.82) in Kingston, Jamaica, on June 24, 2006; 2002 Tayna Lawrence (10.93) in Brussels, Belgium, on August 30, 2002.
Photo – Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce Instagram