By: Pat White
MIAMI – Americans throw their kids in the pool at age of 2 and 3 to teach them to swim; they also put their kids into gymnastic classes at age 3. Some Chinese cry as they send their kids off to gymnastic camps at age 3, and barely see them as they grow. Why is it hard to understand that Jamaicans put their children into track and field sport at a young age. Jamaicans do not have many of the sport facilities that America has, so what do they do? They race for fun. I remember racing in the streets as a passtime when I was a kid growing up, and I know many can relate to this.
Again, due to the lack of sport facilities and equipment, track and field was the sport of choice in many schools, because all you needed was a keen sense of competition; a love for running and sports; fresh air and a field. Hence, many youngsters turned to track and field. I competed in track and field myself (among other sports like netball, tennis and field hockey) and if you ask many others,they will tell you they delved into the sport at some time or another. Many students who did not receive an academic scholarship, got to high school through a track and field scholarship. That tells you that they were into the sport at a young age (during Primary School.)
Another sport that does not require a lot of fancy equipment is soccer; The other sport of choice for most in the Caribbean and South America. All you need is a ball and the great outdoors. Being able to run fast and kick a ball would also help. Soccer does not require the elaborate gear that football requires.
So, my point is, people should not be so puzzled at the winning stream that Jamaicans are on in the Olympics Track and Field. It is a sport that is taken up at a very young age by many and is developed by a few special stars just as other countries specialize in gymnastics, swimming and diving.
Many would add – the fact that some athletes were not running clean , is the reason Jamaica was overshadowed in the past, and the athletes were not able to win the medals that they are so deservedly winning now. Some Athletes from other countries were enhancing their performance with the help of steroids and hence, have been able to take the medals in the past. Now that there are very strict monitoring to prevent the use of these performance enhancement chemicals, natural athletes are now able to shine.
Jamaican Yellow Yam
Many also jokingly say that it’s Trelawny yam, along with the salt fish and dumpling that is giving Usain Bolt and others the strength to win. I insist that it is the love of the sport, a competitive spirit and dedication.
Congratulations to the Jamaican Olympic Team!!
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