Observing all the buzz on social media recently, many people may believe that Jamaicans dislike all American athletes, but this is not true. Jamaicans respect competitors who exhibit confidence combined with humility, and if there is one thing to understand about Jamaicans, it is that whether they like you or dislike you, there will be no doubt in your mind about their preference. There are no gray areas for Jamaicans: you always know where you stand. This article does not speak for all Jamaicans as there are differing views. In that spirit, the list below names the American track athletes liked and disliked by Jamaicans – and the reasons why.
Here are USA athletics Jamaican Like
Alyson Felix, 36, began as a 200-meter specialist but moved to compete in the 400 meters later in her career. She won Olympic gold in the 200 meters in 2012. She had a key role on the American women’s relay teams, which won four consecutive gold medals at the Olympics in 2008, 2012, 2016, and 2020, and was a member of the 2012 team that holds the current 4×100-meter women’s relay world. She is the first female track and field athlete to win seven Olympic gold medals, and with 11 total medals from her five appearances at the Olympics, she is the most decorated woman and the most decorated American in the history of Olympic track and field. With her personal best time of 21.69 seconds in the 200 meters from 2012, she is ranked seventh fastest woman on the all-time list. She participates in “Project Believe,” a US Anti-Doping Agency program, and is credited with calling attention to the refusal of Nike to guarantee salary protection for its pregnant athletes, forcing the firm to expand its maternal policy in 2019. Felix was listed among the 100 most influential people of 2020 by Time magazine and launched her own footwear company, Saysh, in 2021.
Why Jamaicans Like her: Jamaicans see Felix as humble and non-confrontational, likening her to “a cousin who was born abroad.”
Gabrielle “Gabby” Thomas, 24, is ranked as the third-fastest woman in history in the 200 meters with a time of 21.61 seconds set at the 2020 US Olympic trials. At the Tokyo Olympics in 2021, she won a bronze medal, clocking 21, 87 seconds in the 200-meter finals. Running anchor for the US 4×100-meter US relay team, she and her teammates won the silver medal, coming in second to Jamaica’s team.
Why Jamaicans Like her: Her father is Jamaican. On Twitter, she expressed her disappointment about people boycotting the Olympics because of Sha’Carri Richardson, posting, ““It really hurts to see so many black people choosing not to watch the Olympics this year. There are so many black athletes who have put in YEARS of hard work for this moment- myself included. We want your support,” she tweeted on Monday. Additionally, I worry some of the anger and disdain may be misplaced. The ‘Olympics’ and those at the IOC have nothing to do with current events taking place.” She then became a victim of Richardson’s wrath, tweeting, “Athletes that haven’t and will never beat me have a lot to say about or surrounding my situation. When most of them have said nothing to me showing their characters that y’all don’t see behind the races.” Richardson deleted that tweet, but then seemed to support the protest boycott, posting, ”The attention that is on track now and was because of very very few names. So if that’s where fans support lay, you can’t be mad at that.” Thomas received considerable support for her position on social media and responded online with, “Special thanks to my new Jamaican supporters, love oonu, To my Jamdown family in St. Catherine (Spanish Town, Braeton, Portmore) — large up!!.”
Sanya Richards-Ross, 36, a former track and field athlete, competed internationally for the US, mostly in the 400-meter event. She was a 2012 Olympic champion, a 2009 world champion, a bronze medalist at the 2008 Olympics, and a silver medalist at the 2005 world competition. She was ranked Number 1 in the world in the 400 meters from 2005 to 2009 and again in 2012. She holds the record for the most under-50-second sprints in the event’s history, a career total of 49 times. In 2006, she set the US 400-meter record with a time of 48.70 seconds and was named IAAF Female World Athlete of the Year. She received the title again in 2009. Richards-Ross won three consecutive Olympic golds in the 4×400-meter relay in 2004, 2008, and 2012; she also won a total of five relay medals, including four golds and one silver, at various World Championships. She retired after suffering an injury in 2016 and joined NBC as a track and field analyst.
Why Jamaicans Like Her: While there was an initial love-hate relationship between Jamaicans and Richards because she decided to represent the US instead of her home island, Jamaicans overcame their displeasure when they realized that Richards gives back to Jamaica, always speaks highly of Jamaica’s track athletes, and never forgets where she comes from. She even has her son representing Jamaica with his outfits.
Carmelita Jeter, 41, is a retired US sprinter who specialized in the 100-meter race during her career. She was IAAF World Champion in the 100 meters in 2011 and won three Olympic medals in the event. She won a bronze medal at the 2007 World Championships and a gold at the World Athletics Final. With her win in the 100 meters at the Shanghai Golden Grand Prix, she became the fourth-fastest woman in history with a time of 10.64 seconds.
Why Jamaicans Like Her: Jeter was a fierce competitor who let her performance on the track speak for her. She competed head-to-head with Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce many times and expressed her respect for the Jamaican when Fraser-Pryce broke her record in June 2021 to claim the title of fastest woman alive, posting on Twitter, “@realshellyannfp has done it again. I give credit when it’s due. You have come back from having a child and showed the world how talented and driven you are. You are officially the Fastest Women Alive. Keep motivating these young Queens #CoachJet.”
Gail Devers, 54, a retired American retired track and field athlete, won Olympic gold in the 100 meters for the US in 1996, just the second woman to make a successful defense of an Olympic 100-meter title. She won her third gold medal at the Olympics in the 4×100 meter relay in 1996 as well. She was the 100-meter World Champion in 1993 and a three-time World Champion in her career. Devers was inducted into the National Track and Field Hall of Fame in 2011.
Why Jamaicans Like Her: She was a very fierce competitor who came head-to-head with Jamaican runners in many races and always respected Jamaica.
Wallace Spearmon Jr.
Wallace Spearmon Jr., 36, a retired US sprinter, specialized in the 200 meters, becoming the NCAA outdoor champion in the 200 meters twice and winning the silver in the event at the 2005 World Championships. His personal best time over the 200 meters was 19.65 seconds. This made him the ninth-fastest runner in history over that distance. He formerly held the US indoor record for the event. In 2007 and 2008, he won a bronze at the World Championships, and finished third at the 2008 Summer Olympics, although he was disqualified later for stepping out of his lane.
Why Jamaicans Like Him: Wallace Spearmon and Usain Bolt were competitors but also friends. They have raced against each other and partied together. Spearmon is viewed as that cousin that was born abroad. Spearmon has described his partying history with Bolt many times, noting his friend’s considerable recuperative ability. Celebrating Bolt’s birthday in 2008, Spearmon said they partied until “well past 2 am” and Bolt “ate at least 20 McDonald’s Chicken McNuggets.” The next day, Bolt was part of the team that broke the 4×100-meter Olympic record. “I was confused as to how he actually did that,” Spearmon said. After they were both retired in 2017, Spearmon and Bolt made several trips together, and when asked how a retired Bolt compares to a “competitive” Bolt as a partier, Spearmon said, “It’s not even a comparison. Retired Bolt is out of control.”
Here are USA athletics Jamaicans Dislike
Justin Gatlin, 38, specializes in the 100-meter and 200-meter events. He has won five Olympic medals (100-meter gold in 2005) and 12 World Championship medals 100-meter championship in 2005 and 201 and the 200-meters in 2005. He won the 60-meter World Championship in 2003 and 2012 and a 4×100-meter relay World Championship in 2019. With a personal best time of 9.74 seconds, he is ranked fifth on the all-time fastest list of male 100-meter athletes. He was banned from athletics for two years in 2001 for testing positive for amphetamines, but this was reduced to a period of one year on appeal. He received another four-year ban in 2006 for testing positive for testosterone, which erased his then world-record time of 9.77 seconds in the 100 meters. Returning to competition in 2010, he set several records: in 2012, he ran the fastest time ever at the Olympic Trials by a male sprinter over 30; at 33, he broke his own record in the 100 meters for a male over 30 at the IAAF Doha Diamond League. He won Olympic gold in the 100 meters in 2004. At 34, he became the oldest male runner to win an Olympic medal in a non-relay sprint even, and at 35, won the gold medal at the 2017 World Championships. In 2019, he was the most decorated 100-meter sprinter in the history of the World Championships.
Why Jamaicans Dislike Him: Many believe his drug use should have resulted in a permanent ban from the sport. He talks confidence and hypes himself.
Carl Lewis, 60, a former US track and field sprinter and long jumper who won nine Olympic gold medals and one silver Olympic medal during his competitive career, which ran from 1979 to 1996. He also won 10 World Championship medals including eight gold medals. He last won an Olympic medal in 1996 and is one of just six Olympians to win gold in the same individual event in four consecutive Games. He decade-long record of consecutive wins in the long jump is one of the longest winning streaks in the history of the event. Following his retirement from competitive athletics, he became a film actor, and in 2011, ran as a Democrat for a seat in the New Jersey Senate, but was removed because he did not meet a residency requirement. He tested positive for banned stimulants three times in 1988, but was “let off” because that was a normal practice at the time.
Why Jamaicans Dislike Him: He was served with a suspension that was later thrown out. He constantly makes negative comments about Usain Bolt and believes he is still a relevant voice in the sport. In 2015 interview with the Times of India, he responded to comments Bolt made about sprint rival Tyson Gay, saying that Gay should have been banned for failing dope tests rather than suspended in2013, noting that Bolt raised a legitimate issue, but questioned whether a Jamaican should point a finger on doping issues as many doping-related issues had related to Jamaican athletics as well and that Bolt “should first think of cleaning up his own house.”
Tyson Gay, 39, competes for the US in the 100-meter and 200-meter distances. His personal best time in the 100 meters is 9.69 seconds, an American record that ties him with Yohan Blake as the second-fastest man in history. Among his international medals are three gold in the 100 meters, 200 meters, and 4×100-meter relay at the Osaka World Championship in 2007. He won four US championships in the 100 meters. His injury in 2008 precluded him from winning any Olympic medals at the 2008 Olympics. He won a silver medal in the event at the 2009 World Championships. When he tested positive for a banned substance in 2013, he withdrew from competition at the Moscow World Championships. He was suspended by the US Anti-Doping Agency until June 23, 2014, as a result and stripped of his silver medal in the 4×100 meter relay at the 2012 Summer Olympics. He twice won the Jesse Owens Award, was 2007 IAAF World Athlete of the Year, and won the title of Best Track and Field Athlete by Track & Field News in 2007 and the ESPY Award in 2008 and 2011.
Why Jamaicans Dislike Him: Jamaicans have a love-hate relationship with him because he doesn’t talk trash and respects Usain Bolt, but there is a major issue related to his failed drug tests. Jamaicans believe he should have been banned instead of suspended. In 2013, Gay failed three drug tests for the use of steroid creams, but only received a back-dated suspension of one year in 2014 after providing US anti=doping authorities with evidence that led to an eight-year ban on his former coach Jon Drummond.
Sha’carri Richardson, 21, specializes in the 100-meter and 200-meter events. She came to public attention in 2019 when she was a 19-year-old freshman at Louisiana State University and broke the NCAA 100-meter record with a time of 10.75 seconds. Her time made her one of the ten fastest women in history. She ran a personal best in the 100 meters of 10.72 seconds in 2021 to become the sixth-fastest woman of all time and the fourth-fastest American woman in history. Her time of 10.86 seconds at the Olympic Trials in 2021 qualified her for the Tokyo Games, but a positive test for cannabis after her final trial run invalidated the win and made her ineligible to compete in the event. She completed a counseling program and accepted a one-month ineligibility period that began on June 28, 2021.
Why Jamaicans Dislike Her: Richardson constantly brags about being the when she has not accomplished winning any major races. Her video before the Prefontaine Classic (her first race after a drug suspension caused her to miss the 2021 Tokyo Olympics) declaring she was back and calling all her competitors “bitches” did not go over well. Her disrespect for Jamaican athletes and making everything about herself has not won her any friends in Jamaica.
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