Jamaica came away from the World Athletics Championships in Budapest with a healthy share
of the medals. Our athletes won 3 gold, 5 silver, and 4 bronze, finishing fourth overall behind the
United States, Canada, and Spain although only the US had more medals (29). It’s clear by now
that we have a permanent place in the top ten in track and field.
As usual, the performance raised morale at home. We may not be able to get Jamaicans to stay
focused on work, but they are very happy to spend hours looking at our athletes. And they got up
before dawn to watch the Reggae Girlz at the recent Women’s World Cup Soccer matches.
When we compete against the world in anything Jamaicans are energized. Today, our athletes are
household names in the same way West Indies cricket team used to be – perhaps we shouldn’t go
The athletes are also popular with others, even competitors. In stadiums around the world we see
visible support for Jamaican teams. People admire their chutzpah and everyone enjoys the color
we bring to these meets in the way we celebrate. Everywhere, the yellow and green is easily
recognized. Even people who are not serious sports fans tune into the performance of our athletes
and anticipate their return to the tracks. With their infectious spirit and bluntness, Jamaican
teams can be very entertaining when competing.
Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce lights up any meet, even now into her late thirties. She gave a meme-
worthy moment when she hilariously climbed up to the air conditioner in Budapest to ease the
sweltering heat. Another one for the books was Jamaica’s Carey McLeod who landed Superman
style in the men’s long jump final. Usain Bolt striking his now imitated pose became such an
icon that we still hear his name often.
These viral moments include some sweet and affectionate gestures captured on camera in
Budapest. Particularly precious was the repartee with Jamaican sprinters Sherika Jackson,
Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce and American athlete Sha' Carri after her 100m victory. Their
unexpected picture-perfect display of unity surprised many given the highly competitive nature
of the World Championships. Everyone appreciated the sight of these athletes sharing a few
laughs and posing for a selfie together. It was sportsmanship at its best.
Team Jamaica left their mark at the World Athletics Championships and made the nation proud.
We only expect that it will be the same for the Olympics in France next year.