Reflections on Jamaican Sprint Dominance


It’s obvious. Jamaica is the most dominant sprint nation in the world. Even more so when you look at the size of the country. Consider the following:

  • Eight of the ten fastest 100m performances of all time are by 2 Jamaicans
  • Of the 10 people who have run under 9.85 seconds in the men’s 100m 6 of them were born in Jamaica (Donovan Bailey competed for Canada but was born in Jamaica).
  • Of the 4 people who have run under 9.75 seconds in the men’s 100m 3 of them are Jamaican.
  • Things aren’t too different on the women’s side or in other events….Jamaican’s are disproportionately represented at the top of world sprint rankings.

The bottom line is something special is going on there. Some look at the recent success and think the tiny island has found some secret. The reality is that it’s been sneaking up on us all along and we’d missed the clues up until 2008. Other Jamaicans who later became sprint champions for other countries (Ben Johnson, Donovan Bailey, Sanya Richards-Ross, Mark Lewis-Francis, etc) were all over the place just masking the sprinting prowess of Jamaica. If you put insane talent with a long term development program that doesn’t rip athletes away from the coaches who developed them you have a recipe for elite level success. Here are 3 oldie but goodie posts related to Jamaican sprint dominance:

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


📈Owner @AthleticLab 🏆Perf Dir @theNCCourage ⚽️Fit Coach @NorthCarolinaFC ➡️Proformance 📚Keynote Speaker & Author 📊Sport Science & Research🏃🏾‍♂️T&F 💪🏼S&C 🏋🏽‍♂️WL
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Mike Young
Mike Young