Leighton Levy

Leighton Levy

Leighton Levy is a journalist with 28 years’ experience covering crime, entertainment, and sports. He joined the staff at SportsMax.TV as a content editor two years ago and is enjoying the experience of developing sports content and new ideas. At SportsMax.tv he is pursuing his true passion - sports.

Football’s world governing body FIFA is against the appointment of a single arbitrator to hear the dispute between it and the ousted executive of the Trinidad and Tobago Football Association (TTFA).

Steven Gardiner, the 2019 400m world champion, said he was motivated to do his best in Doha for the sake of the people in his home country, The Bahamas, who were devastated by Hurricane Dorian. and now that he has won gold, he wants more.

Olivia Grange, Jamaica’s Minister of Culture, Gender, Entertainment and Sport, the Honourable Olivia Grange, has described the late Freddie Green as one of the finest athletes and sports administrators Jamaica has produced.

Between 1948 and 1952, Jamaica had, at its disposal, four world-class athletes, who between them had two Olympic gold and three silver medals.

Back then, Jamaica’s population was just about 1.4 million and most of its athletes were trained overseas in the US collegiate system. In fact, all Jamaica’s medallists honed their talents in the US collegiate system, Canada and the United Kingdom.

After Wint, McKenley, Rhoden and Laing had moved on, it would be 22 years before Jamaica won another Olympic medal when Lennox Miller claimed silver in the 100m in Mexico in 1968.

Eight years later, Donald Quarrie won Jamaica’s first gold medal since 1952, 24 years since the country’s incredible 4x400m relay win in Helsinki.

It would be another 20 years before Jamaica won another gold medal.

This time, however, it came from a woman; Deon Hemmings broke the drought with an Olympic record win in the 400m hurdles in Atlanta in 1996.

In between, Merlene Ottey, Juliet Cuthbert and Grace Jackson won individual medals for Jamaica and were the redeeming features at the Olympics for Jamaica’s track and field programme.

During this bygone era, Jamaica produced an abundance of other talented male sprinters like Raymond Stewart (the first Jamaican to break the 10-second barrier), Leroy Reid, Michael Green, Gregory Meghoo, Colin Bradford and Percival Spencer, just to name a few, who for one reason or another, did not live up to national expectation.

It would be 32 years after Quarrie sprinted to 200m glory in Montreal that a youngster called Usain Bolt would drag Jamaica’s men to the forefront with gold medals in the 100m and 200m. He then capped it off with another gold medal in the 4x100m relay. The IOC stripped Jamaica of that medal because of a test failed retroactively by Nesta Carter.

Bolt would dominate with six more gold medals over the next two Olympiads – London and Rio – before retiring in 2017.

During that time, only one other Jamaican male – the supremely talented Omar McLeod - has won an individual Olympic gold medal. During that time, Yohan Blake (two silver medals) and Warren Weir (a bronze medal) were the only other individual Olympic medallists.

That is four men, one more than the number that won individual medals between 1948 and 1952, despite the fact that the population has doubled since then.

One other fact, one that I find quite incredible is that between 2004 and 2016, Jamaica produced five of the fastest men in history – Usain Bolt (9.58/19.19), Yohan Blake (9.69/19.26), Nesta Carter (9.78), Steve Mullings (9.80) and Michael Frater (9.88). That is unprecedented in a country that now has a population of about 2.8 million.

Since 2016, Jamaica’s men have struggled in the sprints. Bolt, Frater and Mullings have moved on and Blake, Carter and Powell are nearing the end of their respective careers.

Based on the trends it could be some time before we see that kind of talent on display again because what people are failing to embrace and accept is that what happened in Jamaica since 2004 was extraordinary.

The emergence of talent was incredible, especially when one considers what also happened on the female side with the likes of Veronica Campbell Brown, Sherone Simpson, Kerron Stewart, Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce, Melaine Walker, Brigette Foster-Hylton and Deloreen Ennis-London.

It was truly a golden era that gave the country much to be proud of. However, the other side of that same coin is that those coming up are under so much pressure to live up to this extraordinary era.

Suddenly, nothing short of gold is good enough and that dynamic is not helped by the fact that Bolt himself has put the next wave under much pressure.

“When I was around I think the motivation was there and we worked hard and the level was high, but now that I have left the sport, I feel like it has dropped,” Bolt told Reuters in 2019.

Frater, who surprised all when he won silver in the 100m at the 2005 World Championships in Helsinki, recently expressed similar thoughts.

“Most of the athletes, they feel like it's a sense of entitlement where they feel they are just going out there and other athletes are going to roll over and let them win, and that's not the case,” Frater said in a recent interview with the Jamaica Observer.

“They weren't hungry enough to go out there and get it. You have to go out and fight for what you want.”

However, while there might be some merit to what Bolt and Frater believe, there could be another reason why many of Jamaica’s athletes are not stepping up in a timely manner to fill the gaping hole left behind by Bolt and company.

I will explore this particular issue in more detail next week.

 

Former Trinidad and Manchester United great Dwight Yorke has sided with FIFA in its decision take over the operations of the Trinidad and Tobago Football Association (TTFA) last month.

Organisers have cancelled the sixth staging of the Atlanta Georgia Relays set for next month.

Noted Jamaican sports administrator Freddie Green died on Sunday night. He was 88.

Usain Bolt donated J$500,000 (approximately USD$3500) to the Jamaica-Together-We-Stand telethon that raised funds to help fight the spread of COVID-19.

Yohan Blake, the 2012 double Olympic silver medallist, has been making the most of the downtime brought on by the Coronavirus pandemic. The 30-year-old sprinter has been spending a lot of his time in training and playing a bit of back-yard cricket.

West Indies ODI and T20 captain Kieron Pollard rates his quick-fire 38 against Australia in semi-finals of the 2012 ICC World Cup as one of the best and most important performances of his career.

Michael Holding says while he lacks intimate knowledge of what the Ricky Skerritt-led administration of Cricket West Indies has been doing since it took office last year March, things seem to be moving in the right direction.

He also expressed his satisfaction that players are keen to represent the West Indies once more.

The former fast bowler was speaking on the Mason and Guest show in Barbados on Tuesday.

He said he has been told that the year-old CWI administration had set up committees to get some key things done but most importantly, he said there were good signs for West Indies cricket following the emergence of talented players such as Nicholas Pooran, Shimron Hetmyer and Shai Hope.

"Another thing that I am happy with is that youngsters are now looking forward to representing the Windies again, and everybody is now making themselves available again, which is important," he said.

"I see light at the end of the tunnel because I see talent. Once there is talent, there has to be light at the end of the tunnel. Those three guys are three of the most talented I have seen in the last three to four years. When I look at cricketers, I look at who can make other teams around the world, and those three guys can make most other teams."

Holding was speaking from the Cayman Islands where he is currently during the global pandemic that has shut down sports across the globe.

The Jamaica Football Federation (JFF), in effort to ease the financial pressure facing clubs in the Red Stripe Premier League, has decided to forego payments due from clubs on office rental, utilities, registration fees, contract administrative fees as well as home match levies, yellow and red card fees for the 2019-2020 season.

In its 2020 Almanack, Wisden has named Andre Russell as their leading Twenty20 cricketer in the world for 2019.

Veteran cricket commentator Michael Holding has revealed that he plans to hang up his microphone very soon.

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