Time to correct the 1964 Tokyo Olympics record, says Ambassador RichardsSaturday, July 24, 2021
BY IAN BURNETT
TO say that Jamaica's performance at the 1964 Tokyo OIympic Games was underwhelming would be an understatement.
Two years after the island gained independence and in only its fifth appearance at the Summer Games, Jamaica was represented in two disciplines by 21 athletes, but none could earn one of those coveted, precious metals.
In fact for three consecutive Olympic Games cycles between 1956 and 1964, Jamaica failed to garner a medal of any colour, the leanest period in the country's decorated history.
Prior to that Jamaica had won three medals (one gold and two silver) at its debut campaign in 1948, and bettered that to five (two gold and three silver) at its next stop in 1952.
The achievements have peaked in the last three editions with 11 on last in Rio, 12 in London in 2012 and 11 in Beijing four years earlier.
Current Jamaica Ambassador to Japan Shornakay Richards is eager to help this delegation to not only correct that dreaded record, but to return — to some extent — to the stellar performances of recent times.
When Tokyo hosted the Summer Olympic Games for the first time in 1964, Jamaica failed to win a medal,” Richards shared in disbelief.
She added: “I am available 100 per cent to ensure that our management team and our athletes have the best conditions to ensure peak performances in the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games.”
Richards, who has offered herself for 27 years in the diplomatic service, told the Jamaica Observer recently that she has been advising everybody associated with the Games that Jamaica has a date with 2020 because as a nation these athletes must make an adjustment to that unfortunate record some 57 years ago.
“We want to deliver a strong performance in 2020 to make up for our record the last time in Tokyo in 1964 when we didn't win a medal, so we need to send that message that we are here, we are coming, we are resilient and we can perform under these unprecedented times.
“As ambassador to Japan I believe we have a date [unfinished business] with Tokyo, and I am personally excited to be the one representing the Government of Jamaica here where Jamaica really makes a statement and delivers a successful Games. Go Jamaica, go!” she ended.
Eight-time Olympic Games gold medallist Usain Bolt will be absent from the track at the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games, delayed a year due to the novel coronavirus pandemic, and with him goes a number of secured gold medals. But the Jamaican women sprinters are well poised to continue their dominant display, and although a double-digit medal haul might be far-fetched, a decent mix of medals should be in the Jamaican bag when the Games end on August 8. That will certainly make amends for the anomaly of 1964, in particular, during which sordid period the black, green and gold colours were never displayed on the podium during any medal ceremony.
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