More documentaries needed on Jamaica's exploits in sports

By June 22, 2020

Last week one of the cable channels was showing the 2016 documentary 'I am Bolt', which captured what was happening behind the scenes with Usain Bolt, in his own words, from 2008 to his final appearance at the Olympics in 2016.

Over the course of those three Olympic Games, Bolt won nine gold medals (the 2008 relay medal was stripped) in what was one of the most dominant eras by any athlete in track and field. I had a full plate of work before me but I was not able to pull myself away even though I had already watched it, maybe four or five times already.

It still gave me goosebumps watching Bolt’s career finally take off the way many of us expected, setting world records and winning gold medals and exciting track and field fans like no one had ever seen before.

It is a critical piece of the sport’s history and Jamaica's history as well.

Before the Bolt era, there were not that many books written about Jamaica’s track and field athletes and there have been many of the latter.

For a country its size, Jamaica has produced so many superstar athletes, it belies imagination. Herb McKenley, Arthur Wint, Lennox Miller, Marilyn Neufville, Donald Quarrie, Jackie Pusey, Merlene Ottey, Raymond Stewart, James Beckford, Sandie Richards, Juliet Cuthbert, Winthrop Graham, Veronica Campbell-Brown, Brigitte Foster-Hylton, Beverly McDonald, Veronica Campbell-Brown, Shelly-Ann Fraser Pryce, Asafa Powell; the list goes on and on.

However, by comparison, so little has been documented of their respective careers.

The time has come for us to commission the production of documentaries that will provide archival material on what has been the greatest era of the country’s prowess.

From the current era alone VCB, Shelly, Melaine Walker, Omar McLeod, Sherone Simpson, and more have set records that have become necessary to document.

Not all will be a 107-minute long piece like 'I am Bolt'. The respective stories will determine their own lengths, but it is important that we have these athletes tell us their stories.

These athletes are living history and we should not wait until they are gone to have someone else tell their stories. They should be telling us their stories. VCB and Fraser-Pryce, for example, have some compelling stories to tell.

What do we do with these documentaries?

Well, the government is building a sports museum. These documentaries would be playing on big screens as be part of any tour by those interested in Jamaica’s sporting history. Copies should also be at the National Library to be used in a similar fashion.

The Ministry of Sports should have its own YouTube channel where each of these documentaries is always available to the public for general knowledge, research and similar pursuits.

This undertaking should not be limited to track and field, however.

Alia Atkinson, Chris Binnie, Ali McNabb, Lindy Delaphena, our boxers Mike McCallum, Richard Clarke, Trevor Berbick, Simon Brown, Nicholas Walters are others worthy of being documented.

As time passes, we should not be searching all over the place, oftentimes unsuccessfully, to find data on Jamaica’s incredible sporting history. Our ancestors used to pass knowledge along verbally. We have built statues to honour some of our sporting greats, the time is nigh for us to have more than just images cast in stone.

 

 

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.

Related items

  • Dwayne Walker finds redemption at 2020 IFBB Tampa Pro after 2019 disappointment Dwayne Walker finds redemption at 2020 IFBB Tampa Pro after 2019 disappointment

    Jamaican bodybuilder Dwayne Walker is as pleased as punch following his debut performance in the Open Class at the IFBB Tampa Pro tournament this past weekend.

  • Brandon King bats for Black Lives Matter, to lend support Caribbean communities affected by pandemic Brandon King bats for Black Lives Matter, to lend support Caribbean communities affected by pandemic

    Jamaica, West Indies and Guyana Amazon Warrior batsman Brandon King is doing his part in supporting the Black Lives Matter and assisting communities by the COVID19 pandemic.

  • Octagonal makes no difference to Reggae Boyz chances – Damion Lowe Octagonal makes no difference to Reggae Boyz chances – Damion Lowe

    Reggae Boyz central defender, Damion Lowe, continues to maintain that his side stands a very good chance of finding its way to the World Cup in Qatar, even with the changes of the final round from the traditional six teams to an eight-team format.

    CONCACAF has three and a half spots, meaning the top three from this group earns an automatic berth to the World Cup, while the fourth-placed team plays in a play-off for a chance to join them.

    With two additional teams in the final round for which the Reggae Boyz have already qualified should mean more competition for the the three and a half spots but, according to Lowe, the performance of the team in its recent past suggests it has the tools to get over the line nonetheless.

    “I believe the teams ranked ahead of us is because they play bigger opponents and more games, but if you look at tournaments where we play against each other, Jamaica are second or third and we can challenge Mexico and anybody else when we are prepared properly,” said Lowe during an interview with local newspaper, the Jamaica Observer.

    By preparation, Lowe means further improving on the personnel in the squad coached by Theodore Whitmore, as well as getting top-class opposition to warm up against.

    “We maybe fourth ranked now, but we have to scout properly in order to find the right pieces. When we find the pieces, we have to now play top opponents to help us prepare for the qualifiers,” he said.

    CONCACAF announced the following on Monday:

    The new Concacaf Qualifiers for the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 comprise of three rounds and provide all participating Member Associations with the chance to compete for the Confederation’s three and a half World Cup spots.

    The First Round (30 teams) will be played between the Concacaf Member Associations ranked 6-35 based on the FIFA rankings as of July 16, 2020.

    The 30 men’s national teams will be drawn into six groups of five in a seeded draw. The six highest-ranked teams, El Salvador, Canada, Curacao, Panama, Haiti, and Trinidad and Tobago will be pre-seeded into groups A to F respectively.

    Each team will play every other team in their group once, playing a total of four matches; two home and two away. These games will be played in the FIFA match windows of October 2020 and November 2020.

    At the end of the First Round, the six group winners will progress to the Second Round.

    The Second Round (six teams) will be played between the group winners from the First Round, with the matchups pre-determined as follows:

     

    Group A winner vs Group F winner

    Group B winner vs Group E winner

    Group C winner vs Group D winner

     

    The teams will play home and away in a direct elimination format in the FIFA match window of March 2021. The three winners will progress to the Final Round.

    The Final Round (eight teams) of the Concacaf Qualifiers for the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 will see the three winners from the Second Round join the Concacaf Member Associations ranked 1-5 based on the FIFA rankings as of July 16th, 2020. The national teams ranked 1-5 had already gained enough FIFA ranking points to guarantee their place in the Final Round prior to the development of a new format.

    Final Round teams: 1. Mexico 2. USA 3. Costa Rica 4. Jamaica 5. Honduras 6. Second Round Winner 7. Second Round Winner 8. Second Round Winner.

    The Final Round will begin in the double FIFA match window in June 2021 and continue in the FIFA match windows of September, October, November 2021 and January and March 2022.

    The eight teams will play each other home and away, with each team playing 14 matches.  

© 2020 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.