Jamaica: Woman Power!

“Shelly-Ann Fraser” – Photo by Lim CK. Visit Lim's photostream.
Global Voices OlympicsJamaica has done it again! If there was any doubt after Usain Bolt's 100m Gold Medal that this Caribbean nation is a powerhouse of Track and Field, the female Jamaican sprinters made sure to underscore the point by placing first (Shelly-Ann Fraser) second (Kerron Stewart) and…second (Sherone Simpson) in the final of the Women's 100m in Beijing.

The timing could not have been better. Sure, the stunning display came on the heels of Usain Bolt's comfortable trot to glory, but it also coincided with the celebration of the birthday of the island's first national hero, Marcus Garvey.

In keeping with the celebratory spirit, Hello World posts photos from the island's Independence Parade, focusing on a float called The Olympic Dream:

It was probably the most appropriate float in the parade given Jamaica's performance in the 100m sprints thus far, 2 golds, 2 silvers and lots of records broken/created. We have nothing on China or Phelps’ winnings but as a small nation we have done pretty well for our self.

Jamaican bloggers would not argue with that. Can a Jamaican Take Cali? says:

That girl, that girl Shelly-Ann…I love the sheer joy that she showed after winning the 100m, I could not stop chuckling. I love the exuberance of our winners, now the haters are coming out of the woodwork saying they lack class because of the celebrations – STUFF IT! I remember Carl Lewis sticking his hand in the air every time he passed his competitors and thought he had the win! Rahtid, I love the braces just gleaming in all the pictures and love how happy both Fraser and Bolt were in their interviews.

He also feels vindicated that Jamaica “is finally getting its props in sprinting. Is ages now we thought we had some of the best sprinters and yet mysteriously the big countries with the extra cash and resources were always pulling things out.” Cali goes on to quote ESPN commentators “responding with outrage to an American commenter suggesting that for Jamaicans to now be winning they must be doping”:

The first clean Olympics since the Cold War and now JAMAICA has finally been given a chance to shine.

The blogger also makes a point of saying he is “damn tired of this move”:

When a Jamaican running for Canada, Britain or America wins they are listed as the American champ, if they pop positive for anything they suddenly become “JAMAICAN BORN sprinter”…if you own them as champs own them as cheats, because we certainly do not shy away from our people!

Then came the controversy, with the Americans filing a protest for a perceived false start. The protest was later rejected; the official results stood. But the bitter taste left in Jamaicans’ mouths did not end there, thanks to the “Russia is not Jamaica” comment by The New Yorker‘s Michael Specter in analyzing the Georgia/South Ossetia crisis. Abeng News Magazine has this to say:

Some friends and colleagues were insulted by the Jamaican reference in the bashing of Bush on his ineptitude in dealing with Russia's incursion into Georgia. It doesn't make sense to take these insults personally anymore because they're handed out across the board by the US and its journalists. It's just as – and possibly even more – insulting to the Russians to suggest that they can now be treated as bigger children than Jamaica.

“Starting 100m Women's” – Photo by Lim CK. Visit Lim's photostream.
Trinidadian blogger Caribbean Lionesse thinks the best thing to do is just forget the controversy and savour the moment:

Can we enjoy that it was a Caribbean 1-2 in the men's 100m and then the Jamaican ladies gave us the 1-2-3 in the women's event? And that little Shelly-Ann Fraser, the Olympic champion is just as cute as a button? Her exuberant reaction was so adorable! Me personally, I'm ecstatic. As a Caribbean woman I am so very thrilled at our ascendancy, at these little rocks just showing the world the kind of heart and determination and talent we have.

Other Caribbean bloggers seemed to agree with that sentiment, as congratulations poured in for Jamaica once again. Barbadian Pull! Push! says:

Jamaicans all over the world must be going crazy this weekend and rightly so!

…while Grenada's Blah Bloh Blog regards the Jamaican win as a triumph for the Caribbean:

Our athletes doing us proud! Yes – they is ours. All ah we claiming all ah dem!

She also hopes that the rest of the region “will join Grenada in supporting Randy Lewis’s quest for gold in the triple jump. Lewis is the current World Champion and “they” say he is expected to give Grenada it’s first ever Olympic medal *prays* Come on Randy!”

Abeni from St. Vincent and the Grenadines was rendered “pretty much speechless after watching the Jamaican trio demolish the 100 metres final”:

Something tells me the awe inspiring moments are not yet over.

Caribbean Beat Blog adds:

For all the cliches about laid back, slow-moving West Indians, it's a Jamaican man and Jamaican woman who have managed to outrun the best and fastest in the world to claim the titles as the fastest man and woman alive. Jamaican athletes have made history this weekend.

They certainly have. Jamaica has caused unparalleled excitement in the Caribbean, inspiring Prime Ministerial speeches, processions and now, poetry:

We cannot forget Lightning striking for the first time. But wait. Wha’ me a see?
Jamaican girls run and win one, two, three.

We wanted to make history and that we did for true.
When you look at the results you see we get one, two, two!
We see a tie for second, so we get one gold and two silver.
First time this happen? Yes, man, first time ever.

We want the anthem played three times.
We want to bawl and shed tears.
When the Jamaican flag rises up.
We want to see it fly for years.


  • I`m African from a country where Women and Men dominate long distance races but just like it all about Jamaican Women power in short races. Great appraisal for your display. Come on ladies

  • […] was an elated nation a month and a half ago as it celebrated the victories of its Olympic heroes. This week, a stunned nation is in mourning as the headless body of a little […]

  • ogubnunmi joseph

    am pastor joseph base in nigeria but i want to come over to jamaica next month just for 2weeks, i need the person that can put me through durning that period of time, i wll be very happ if u can surrender your self for GOD to use durning that time,the lord will continue multiply you,
    i will be glad if you can accommdate me
    thanks for your coopration

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