Did You Know…? Jamaica has won the second-highest total of sprint medals in the history of the Summer Olympics individual 100-meter and 200-meter events. Jamaican runners brought home three gold medals, four silver medals, and one bronze medal for a total of eight medals in the 100 meters and in the 200 meters, Jamaica won four gold, one silver, and two bronze for a total of seven medals. Only the United States has won more medals than Jamaica in these events.
The 100-Meter Event
The men’s 100-meter event has been included in the Olympics program since 1896 and is considered one of its most prestigious “blue ribbon” events. It is the shortest sprint competition at the Games and has been so except for the period between 1900 and 1904, when a men’s 60-meter race was part of the program. The women’s 100-meter event has been part of the Summer Olympics since 1928.
World records have been equaled or broken at the 100-meter Olympics events seven times in the men’s category and 12 times in the women’s category. The first Olympic 100-meter champions were from the United States. Thomas Burke won the men’s event in 1896, and Betty Robinson won the women’s event in 1928. Olympic records set at the event are the 9.63 seconds achieved by Jamaica’s Usain Bolt in the 2012 men’s race, and 10.62 seconds set by Florence Griffith-Joyner in the women’s event in 1988.
Jamaican Winners in the Men’s 100 Meters
Jamaica’s 100-meter Olympic medal winners in the men’s event include Lennox Miller, who won a silver medal in Mexico City in 1968 and a bronze medal in Munich in 1972. Don Quarrie won silver at the 1976 Montreal games. Jamaica’s sprint superstar Usain Bolt took home three consecutive gold medals in the event in 2008 in Beijing, 2012 in London, and 2016 in Rio de Janeiro.
Overall Medal Totals of the Top 5 Nations in the Men’s 100 Meters
The overall medal totals by nation in the men’s 100-meter event were as follows: the United States won 16 gold, 14 silver, and 9 bronze for a total of 39 Olympic medals in this event. Jamaica has the Number 2 spot with 3 gold, 4 silver, and 1 bronze. In third place is Great Britain with 3 gold, 2 silver, and 3 bronze. Canada won 2 gold and 4 bronze medals in the 100 meters, and Trinidad and Tobago took home 1 gold, 2 silver, and 1 bronze.
Jamaican Winners in the Women’s 100 Meters
The women’s 100-meter winners include Jamaicans Merlene Ottey who won bronze at the 1984 Games in Los Angeles, a silver at the 1996 Summer Olympics in Atlanta, and a bronze at the 2000 Games in Sydney; Juliet Cuthbert who won a silver medal at the 1992 Barcelona Games; Tayna Lawrence took home a silver medal at the 2000 Games in Sydney; Veronica Campbell won a bronze in Athens in 2004; Shelly-Ann Fraser won gold in Beijing in 2008, while Sherone Simpson and Kerron Stewart tied for the bronze medal at the same Games. In 2012, Shelly-Ann Fraser won gold, while her teammate Veronica Campbell-Brown won the bronze medal in London. The gold medal went to Elaine Thompson in Rio de Janeiro, and Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce took home the bronze.
Overall Medal Totals of the Top 5 Nations in the Women’s 100 Meters
The overall medal totals by country in the women’s 100 meter event were as follows: The United States won 9 gold, 7 silver, and 2 bronze for a total of 18; Jamaica won 3 gold, 5 silver, and 5 bronze for a total of 13 medals; Australia came in third with 2 gold, 1 silver, and 3 bronze for a total of 6 medals; East Germany won 1 gold, 2 silver, and 2 bronze to take home 5 medals; and Poland came in fifth place overall with 1 gold, 1 silver, and 2 bronze for a total of 4 medals in the event.
The 200-Meter Event
The 200-meter event has been on the program since the 1900 Summer Olympic Games, while the women’s event has been contested continuously since it was introduced in 1948. The format for this prestigious event usually involves three or four qualifying rounds that culminate in a final race between 8 runners. The Olympic records for the 200-meter distance were set in 2008 for men by Jamaican Usain Bolt with a time of 19.30 seconds. Florence Griffith-Joyner set the women’s record in 1988 with a time of 21.34 seconds. Her record stands, while Bolt’s time is the third fastest in history.
Jamaican Winners of the Men’s 200 Meters
Jamaica’s Don Quarrie won gold in 1976 in Montreal and a bronze medal in Moscow in 1980. In London in 2012, Jamaican’s took all three top spots, with Usain Bolt winning gold, Yohan Blake taking the silver, and Warren Weir winning the bronze medal. Usain Bolt won a gold medal in the event in 2016 in Rio de Janeiro.
Overall Medal Totals of the Top 5 Nations in the Men’s 200 Meters
The United States won 17 gold medals, 18 silver, and 11 bronze for a total of 46 medals in the event. Jamaica won 4 gold, 1 silver, and 2 bronze for a total of 7. Italy won 2 gold and 1 bronze for a total of 3, Canada won 2 gold and 1 silver for a total of 3, and Greece and the Soviet Union each won 1 gold medal in the event.
Jamaican Winners of the Women’s 200 Meters
In 1992, Juliet Cuthbert won the silver medal in the 200-meter event in Barcelona, and Merlene Ottey won the bronze medal. Ottey won a silver medal at the 1996 Atlanta Games, and Beverly McDonald took home a bronze medal in Sydney in 2000. Veronica Campbell was the winner of a gold medal in 2004 in Athens and also won gold in the event at the 2008 Beijing Games. Kerron Stewart took home a bronze medal in Beijing as well. Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce won a silver medal in London in 2012, and Elaine Thompson won a gold medal in 2016 in Rio de Janeiro.
Overall Medal Totals of the Top 5 Nations in the Women’s 200 Meters
The United States won 6 gold medals, 3 silver, and 3 bronze for a total of 12 medals in the 200 meters. Jamaica won 3 gold, 4 silver, and 5 bronze for a total of 12 medals as well. In third place overall was East Germany with 3 gold and 2 silver for a total of 5 medals, followed by Australia with 2 gold, 2 silver, and 3 bronze, and the Netherlands with 1 gold and 2 silver medals.
Olympic Records in the Men’s 200 Meters
Jamaican Usain Bolt set a world record for the distance in 2008 with a time of 19.30 seconds.
Olympic Records in the Women’s 200 Meters
Cynthia Thompson of Jamaica set an Olympic record in the second heat of the 200 meter race in 1948 with a time of 25.6 seconds.
Photo Source: Deposit Photos