14 reasons why Jamaica is the Sprint Capitol of the World


At this past Olympics, Jamaica put on a show. The tiny island with a population of less than 3 million people won more Olympic medals than every other country not named USA, Russia or Kenya. And when you consider the QUALITY of their medals, things are even more astounding. Consider these points:

  1. If we use the point system I described HERE, Jamaica (24 points) is actually the 3rd best track and field country in the world behind only America (45 points) and Russia (35 points).
  2. 5 World Records were set at the Olympic Games, Jamaica had 3 of them. All in the sprints.
  3. Usain Bolt obliterated an amazing 100m field and cruised across the finish line in WR time. Although the time was shocking, the manner in which he destroyed the field was even more so.
  4. Of the 14 sprints, relays, and hurdles finals (7 for each gender), Jamaica was represented in 13 of them…more than any other country (the U.S. was in 12).
  5. Jamaica won 7 of the 12 possible medals in the 100m and 200m including a medal sweep in the women’s 100m dash.
  6. Usain Bolt broke what I considered to be the best WR in track and field by winning the 200m in 19.30…IN TO A HEADWIND.
  7. Jamaica’s Usain Bolt and Asafa Powell are now almost indisputably the two fastest human beings to ever walk the face of the earth. Powell can boast more sub 9.80s than any other sprinter (7) and is second to only Maurice Greene with 46 sub 10 second 100m performances.
  8. Usain Bolt has 3 of the top ten 200m times in history. That guy Michael Johnson? He has only 2.
  9. The second best sprinter in Jamaica, Asafa Powell, produced 5 of the top 20 times ever run over 100m THIS SEASON.
  10. 2 men from the country have broken the previous season’s WR a combined total of 3 times…so much for reaching the limits of human performance. Together they have 11 of the top 12 and 16 of the top 20 legal 100m times in history.
  11. How about depth? On the men’s side they had 3 of the top 6 in the 100m including the Olympic champion, top spot in the 200m with a WR, placed 6th and 7th in the 110H; 4th and 7th in the 400H; won the 4x100m in WR time; and placed 8th in the 4x400m.
  12. You think that was good? Consider the women! Although they didn’t have a Usain Bolt, they are even deeper. They took the top 3 spots in the 100m, 2 of the top 3 and 3 of the top 6 in the 200m, placed 2nd and 7th in the 400m, were 5th and 6th in the 100H, won the 400H, and placed 3rd in the 4x400m. The only thing that could stop the Jamaican women were the Jamaican women…when they missed the exchange in the final of the 4x100m relay.
  13. In winning the 200m at the Olympics, Veronica Campbell-Brown ran the fastest women’s 200m in a decade.
  14. Did I mention they have Usain Bolt?

Has one country ever dominated the sprints to this extent? Perhaps the United States but then again, there are almost as many people in Brooklyn, NY as there are on the entire island of Jamaica. In future blogs I’ll examine what’s behind this Jamaican explosion.

Mike Young

Mike Young

Founder of ELITETRACK at Athletic Lab
Mike has a BS in Exercise Physiology from Ohio University, an MSS in Coaching Science from Ohio University & a PhD in Biomechanics from LSU. Additionally, he has been recognized as a Certified Strength & Conditioning Specialist (CSCS) from the National Strength & Conditioning Association, a Level 3 coach by USA Track & Field, a Level 2 coach by USA Weightlifting.
Mike Young


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Mike Young
Mike Young