Before Usain Bolt The First Jamaican Sprint Star Arthur Wint London 1948 Olympics

The Jamaican world of sprinter hasn’t always been dominated by the vast collection of stars we know and love today as can be seen in these classic Olympic highlights of Arthur Wint at the London 1948 Olympic Games.

Much before the world of sprinting become dominated with the likes of Usain Bolt, Asafa Powell and Yohan Blake, Herb McKenley and Arthur Wint were Jamaica’s key athletes for the London 1948 Olympic Games.

McKenley was seen as the main favourite to win the 400 metres event. Except according to McKinley himself, who pointed at Arthur Wint as the one to be watched. Though not largely considered the favourite for the win, Wint definitely had the crowd’s support from the local crowd having connection with Great Britain, from a Scottish mother to being a fighter pilot in the Royal Air Force.

Arthur Wint entered in both the 400m and 800m. In the latter, he lost out to America’s Mal Whitfield, and had to settle for Silver, something that made him determined not to finish behind Whitfield over the single-lap race. He thought McKenley might beat him, but nobody else.

As it was, McKenley was leading on the home straight after his trademark flying start but began to fade. Wint saw this and pushed himself to catch his friend and rival. With 20 metres to go, he overtook McKenley and won the race by a comfortable margin. It was Jamaica’s first Olympic gold medal.

A second might have followed in the 4x400m, but for the cruellest of luck. Running the third leg, and desperate to beat the American team, Wint pulled a muscle and the Jamaicans had to pull out. It would take another four years before they’d get the success they so craved.