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Monday, August 11, 2008

Jamaicans Making a Statement in China Olympics

Jamaica first participated at the Olympic Games in 1948 in London and it has sent representatives to every summer Games since. Only in 1960 did the nation not compete as Jamaica, at that edition they joined up with the other British West Indies islands to represent the West Indies Federation team.

Jamaica has won 42 medals in their Olympic history. All medals, except a bronze won in cycling in 1980, have come from track and field events. The islanders are especially successful in sprint and relay events.

Jamaica had one of its most successful Olympic Games ever in 1952 in Helsinki, Finland. George Rhoden [gold - 400m], Herb McKenley [silver - 400m] and Arthur Wint [silver - 800m] all won individual medals at the Games before teaming up with Leslie Laing to set a world record on the way to winning gold in the 4x400m relay. Many prominent sprinters have followed on from them to win medals, including Olympic champions Don Quarrie and Deon Hemmings.

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Expectations are again high this year in the 2008 Olympic Games kick off in Beijing.

The man of course to watch is Usain Bolt with his specialty for the 200 meter race. He has added a 100 meter to his roster after last year he shattered that record in New York City. His time of 9.72 seconds has even surpassed his countryman Asafa Powell.

This is indeed going to be a phenomenol match up. Making the Jamaican team more spectacular is 2004 hurdler Danny McFarlane. McFarlane clocked the 5th fastest time this year.

BEIJING - AUGUST 08:  Runner Veronica Campbell of Jamaica carries her country's flag to lead out the delegation during the Opening Ceremony for the 2008 Beijing Summer Olympics at the National Stadium on August 8, 2008 in Beijing, China. From Getty Images.

Veronica Campbell-Brown is also expected to do well. in 2004 she achieved a gold medal in the 200 meter race (she was also a part of the 4X100 Relay Team). Her teammates Kerron Stewart, Shelly-Ann Fraser, and Sherone Simpson clocked three of the fastest 100-meter times this year.

Another athlete aiming for a first is Jamaican Maurice Smith, who`s hoping to nab the region`s first Olympic decathlon medal.

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