McLeod’s gold – a historic achievement

BY PAUL A REID Observer Writer reidp@jamaicaobserver.com

Sunday, August 28, 2016

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Omar McLeod’s amazing gold medal run in the men’s 110m hurdles final at the XXXI Olympic Games at Olympic Stadium in Rio de Janeiro on Tuesday, August 16 was the culmination of a journey that started in 1948 when Jamaica first competed in the Olympic Games.


Sydney Foster failed to get past his first round heat in London in 1948, the first man to compete over the hurdles at the Olympic Games for Jamaica but it lit the fuse that would ultimately mine gold for the country.


McLeod’s gold was the second medal for Jamaica in the obstacle event after Hansle Parchment broke through with the bronze medal four years ago in London 2012.


Despite just two medals at the Olympics, Jamaica have enjoyed a relatively good record in the event, especially since 2004 when three men, including two-time finalist Maurice Wignall, made it to the semi-finals. Wignall just missed a medal by the thickness of his running vest. He ran 13.21 seconds for fourth, same time as Latvia’s Stanislav Olijars, but was just edged by Cuba’s Anier Garcia who got the bronze medal with 13.20 seconds as China’s Liu Xiang won the gold with 12.91 seconds with silver going to American Terrence Trammell in 13.18 seconds.


Four years later in Beijing, Jamaica had two representatives in the final, Wignall and Richard Phillips.


Before these Olympic Games where McLeod, Andrew Riley and Deuce Carter wore the black, green and gold, 12 men have represented Jamaica in the sprint hurdles in 11 previous Olympics.


Phillips, a finalist in the IAAF World Junior Championships in Kingston in 2002 has been to three Olympics.


Five men, including McLeod, have now made it to the final. The rest are the late Keith Gardner competing for the West Indies Federation in Rome in 1960; Wignall who has been to two finals, in Athens in 2004 and Beijing in 2008, Phillips also in Beijing, and Hansle Parchment, who won a bronze medal in London 2012.


Up to 2012, hurdlers had to contest four rounds but it was cut to three in London.



Jamaica’s Olympic 110m hurdles representatives:




Sydney Foster - 3rd in first round heat



1956 Melbourne


Keith Gardner - 14.65 seconds, first round



1960 Rome


Keith Gardner as part of the British West Indian Federation - 5th in final in 14.55 seconds; won first round in 14.46 seconds, 2nd in second round 14.45 seconds, 3rd in semis in 14.32 seconds.



1972 Munich


Godfrey Murray - 14.16 seconds for fourth in first round



1988 Moscow


Richard Bucknor - 3rd in first round, 13.89 secs; 3rd in quarters, 13.91 secs; 8th in semis, 13.98 secs,


Andrew Parker - 3rd in first round heat 14.00 secs, 6th in quarterfinals 14.05 secs.



1992 Barcelona


Richard Bucknor - 6th in first round 13.91 secs, 9th in quarters - 14.22 secs


Anthony Knight - 6th in first round 14.12 secs.



1996 Atlanta


Robert Foster- 3rd first round 13.58 secs, 2nd quarters 13.51 secs, 6th semis-13.49 secs.



2000 Sydney


Robert Foster- 7th in first round -14.33 secs.



2004 Athens


Maurice Wignall - won first round 13.33 secs, 3rd quarters 13.39 secs, won semis in PB - 13.17 secs(NR), fourth in final - 13.21 secs.


Richard Philips - won first round heat-13.39 secs, 3rd in quarters -13.44 secs, 6th in semis 13.47 secs.


Chris Pinnock - 3rd in first round 13.42 secs, 4th in quarters 13.47 secs, 7th in semis 13.57 secs.



2008 Beijing


Wignall - 4th in first round 13.61, won quarter finals 13.36, 4th in semis 13.40, 6th in final 13.46.



Richard Phillips


4th in first round 13.60, 5th in quarters 13.48, 4th in semis 13.43, 7th in final in 13.60.



2012 London - changed to three rounds


Hansle Parchment - 2nd in first round 13.32; 2nd in semi-finals - 13.14 seconds; third in final - 13.12 (Bronze)



Richard Phillips


5th in first round 13.47, injured in semis



Andrew Riley


5th in first round 13.59, did not advance.

 

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