A Jamaican Gold rush at the Universiade Games
SHENZHEN, August 21, 2011 – After Usain Bolt had powered to gold medals in world-record times in the 100 and 200m sprints at the 2008 Summer Olympics, his father memorably declared that the son had a secret. Bolt had been fueled by eating the local yam, a variety called the Trelawney.
Does it stretch credibility to think that one item on the menu can propel one small island from the Caribbean to world dominance on the track? Since 2008, Jamaican runners have only gotten more and more assertive.
Here at the 2011 Summer Universiade, Jamaica celebrated gold medals in both the men's and women's 100 and 200 meters-Rasheed Dwyer winning in 20.20 and Anneisha McLaughlin in 22.54.
Jacques Harvey clinched the gold in the men's 100m while Carrie Russell claimed the women's title.
"There are so many runners in Jamaica. Then there is no choice. You must fight for your place at the national team," Dwyer said after crossing the finish line.
In a special interview with the FISU-AIPS young reporters program, he added, "This is an amazing feeling. I thank God for the opportunity to represent my country."
What, he was asked, is your secret?
"No secret," he said. "No secret. Sometimes you have to stop thinking, and simply run."
Steve Mullings, a top Jamaican sprinter, has tested positive for the banned masking agent furosemide; his ability to run in the world championships in Daegu, South Korea, which begin later this month, is in question.
Dwyer said, "As long as nobody has proven anything, let them say what ever they want. And we will continue to run."
As it turned out, there was a tie for silver in the men's 200, between Thuso Mpuang of South Africa and another Jamaican, Jason Young, both timed in 20.59. "We just work hard. All the time," Young said. "Don't make assumptions. Besides, we just love to run."
But many runners around the world work hard.
"... Probably," Jason Young said with a laugh, "not enough."