J'can sprint queens take historic gold-silver-silver in Olympic 100mSunday, August 01, 2021
The last time that Jamaica's female athletes swept the Olympic 100-metres final was at the 2008 Games in Beijing, China. The trio of Shelly-Ann Fraser, Sherone Simpson and Kerron Stewart brought untold joy to Jamaicans here and across the world when they finished the event to take a historic gold-silver-silver combination on Sunday, August 17. Here is a flashback of the Jamaica Observer's coverage of that race and the wrap-around cover of the Daily Observer on Monday, August 18, 2008.
BEIJING, China — Trailblazers Shelly-Ann Fraser, Sherone Simpson, and Kerron Stewart propelled Jamaica into Olympics athletics history with a rare gold-silver-silver sweep of the women's 100-metre finals here Sunday night that stunned the world and sent the island's 2.8 million people into a state of euphoria.
The landmark achievement sent the Americans to the International Association of Athletics Federations' (IAAF's) Jury of Appeal, complaining that one of their three athletes in the race had false-started. However, the distasteful protest was thrown out in less than an hour, and the Jamaicans will today receive their medals inside the Bird's Nest Stadium.
“The Jury of Appeal received a protest from the US team who claimed that Torri Edwards moved when she was in the blocks and the starter did not call back the athletes, so the jury is examining the protest,” Anna Legnani, the IAAF's deputy director of communications, had informed the Observer.
However, after viewing all the footage, the jurors made their decision.
“The latest is that the protest lodged by the Americans has been rejected,” said Nick Davis, who heads the IAAF's Communications Department. “On the grounds that they [jurors of appeal] checked the evidence, they spoke with the starter, they looked at the video and determined it was a fair start,” Davis explained to the Observer. He said the presentation ceremony will take place later this evening at a time to be announced.
The Americans filed the protest approximately one hour after Fraser stormed to a lifetime best 10.78 seconds to win Jamaica's first ever Olympic gold in the women's 100m, leading the sweep, with Simpson and Stewart clocking identical 10.98 seconds in a dead-heat for silver.
The victory resulted in a huge disappointment for the Americans, who were failing to win a medal in the women's 100m for only the seventh time in their history of competing in the Olympics following 1948, 1952, 1956, 1972, 1976, and 1980.
Manager of Jamaica's 52-member track and field team, Ludlow Watt, who had earlier expressed disappointment at the news that the Americans had lodged a protest, told the Observer he was not surprised by the jurors' ruling.
“What is important is that at the end of the day we have our medals and Jamaica is proud and the athletes got the results of their hard work, so the ruling is not really surprising because I didn't expect the protest to be successful,” an elated Watts said.
Jamaica's sweep of the medals in the women's 100m at the 29th Olympiad made history because no other country has achieved this feat on the female side.
It has been achieved twice on the men's side in the 100m by the USA at the 1906 Athina Games (Archie Hahn, Nate Cartmell and Williams Hogendon) and the 1912 edition in Stockholm (Ralph Craig, Alvah Meyer and Donald Lippincott).
Jamaica's Minister of Sports Olivia Grange, who was among the scores of Jamaicans who were denied the pleasure of hearing the national anthem being played twice in one day at these Olympics, expressed joy at the jurors' ruling.
“I don't want to call the Americans poor losers, so what I'll do right now is to continue to be positive and continue to feel excited and to feel pride in the athletes and in our country,” Minister Grange told the Observer.
The Stephen Francis-coached Fraser, who had the second-to-last worst reaction time to the starter's gun, took control of the race at the 30-metre mark and romped to an impressive victory.
The former Wolmer's High School for Girls star shaved 0.07secs off her previous personal best of 10.85, established while placing second at Jamaica's Olympic Trials in June. That time made Fraser, who grew up in the often-volatile inner-city community of Waterhouse in Kingston, the second-fastest Jamaican woman of all time behind Merlene Ottey (10.74sec).
“It was the performance of my lifetime,” the excited Fraser confessed.
“The only pressure on me was to go out there and execute, so I felt no pressure,” added the sprinter, who won a World Championship relay silver in Osaka last year.
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