Moving Back to Jamaica

A blog about my Move Back to Jamaica after 20+ years of living in the US. Most of the articles focus on the period from 2005-2009 when the transition was new, and at it's most challenging.

Sunday, June 01, 2008

The Two Fastest Men in the World, and Fastest Woman

Jamaica awakens this morning to the news that Usain Bolt has broken the world record for the 100 m dash.

That is, he has broken Asafa Powell of Jamaica's world record with one of his own. On the same night, Veronica Campbell ran the fastest 100m by a woman this year. (Click here for a report of both races in the New York Times.)

How is Jamaica able to produce such amazing results from an island of a mere 2.6 millions people?

It's simple... the annual high school rivalry in athletics, that we Jamaicans call "Champs" is simply the best event of its kind in the world, and the results are evidence of the passion that we bring to the sport and also our alma

Here is a report I wrote from 2006 Champs, trying to explain this unique phenomena.

I vividly recall sitting around the dinner table with my fellow students at Cornell, talking about high school, and hearing them share how much they hated it. Here in Jamaica, that is a feeling that is rarely expressed, as our predominant feeling with respect to our own high school is one of instant pride that lasts a lifetime. Is is expected, and accepted, and understood to be true.

Representing one's high school in a sporting event like Champs, and winning awards for the school at seen as some of the highest accomplishments, whether it be on the debating team, the football field or on School's Challenge.

It matters not -- high accomplishment stems from school pride, which in turn translates to national pride.

All this when our crime rate (and food prices) have risen alarmingly. How to convert the success in one area of national life to less murders in the other is a question that we might be asking as we celebrate.



At 6/01/2008 8:31 AM, Anonymous ESTEBAN AGOSTO REID said...

Incredible,the two fastest men and the fastest woman in the world are Jamaicans and reside in Jamdown.Congratulations,to Mr.Usain Bolt on setting the new world record of 9.72 in the one hundred metres.Francis,I do agree with you,that high school pride in Jamaica is extremely strong, especially,if you represented your high school in a sports or academic event.Nuff respect Mr. Bolt,I am extremely happy for you.

At 6/01/2008 10:21 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Congratulations to all! Well done.


At 6/06/2008 3:40 AM, Anonymous caribstarr said...

Are you then denying the role steroids might have played?

At 6/08/2008 10:50 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Innocent until proven guilty?



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