LONDON, England — The head coach of Jamaica’s track and field team that won a record 12 medals as competition ended at the 27th Olympic Games last night hailed the team effort that went into the success.
“Overall, the team did very well and we can’t ask for more,” said Maurice Wilson who recalled that at a Jamaica Observer Monday Exchange prior to arriving here, he and other team officials had asked Jamaican fans to temper their expectations about medals as “we are no longer the surprise team anymore”.
Jamaica won two more medals last night — a gold in the men’s 4x100m relay in a world record 36.84 seconds, two-tenths of a second below their 37.04 seconds set last year at the IAAF World Championships in Daegu, South Korea; and a bronze in the women’s 4x400m.
In all Jamaica won four gold, including two by Usain Bolt to retain his 100m and 200m titles and Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce retained her 100m title as well; four silver medals — two to Yohan Blake in the 100m and 200m, Fraser-Pryce in the 200m and the women’s 4x100m team; and four bronze medals — Veronica Campbell Brown in the women’s 100m, Hansle Parchment in the men’s 110m hurdles, Warren Weir in the men’s 200m and the women’s 4x400m team.
Wilson said the achievement was “excellent”, especially as four athletes who medalled in Beijing who were on this team did not manage to get individual medals: Melaine Walker, who came into these Games as the women’s 400m hurdles champion went out in the semi-finals; Sherone Simpson and Kerron Stewart, who had tied for silver in the 100m; and Shericka Williams, who won the silver in the 400m all failed to get on the podium in their individuals events.
Wilson said other countries such as the USA and Russia, which topped the medals tables with 29 and 18 medals, “each have stepped up to match what we have been doing”.
Most of all, Wilson said the biggest satisfaction was that “we could make Jamaica happy. At times we heard those at home were not happy with what they heard and we fed off that and we were not happy either”.
While he said it was all a team effort, he singled out Parchment’s bronze medal as the “breakthrough performance of the Games”, and said it was a breakthrough for hurdlers in Jamaica.
He praised the two individual gold medals and said the Olympic Record of 9.63 seconds in the 100m by Bolt, while not a surprise anymore, was “phenomenal for him to repeat what he did in Beijing, especially since he was not at his best coming out of [Jamaica’s National] Trials. It was just great to see”.
Wilson also predicted that “we might never see another performance like this again in our lifetime”.