I am still analyzing and recalled a preeminent sports journalist in Jamaica writes a great account as to why Jamaica athletics is fine and going great despite the retirement of Usain Bolt.
He pointed out the improvement in jumps, middle distance, the now growth if not maturation of the throwing program with winners in the female shot put and male discuss at the 2018 Commonwealth games. Then there are the hurdles where Jamaica has the number one 110m hurdler in the world with two others in the top 10 ranking. We are also seeing the long overdue quarter mile program development. Two Jamaicans running 43.4 and 43.77 legs at the 2018 Penn Relays.
To go with improvement in the high school program with three running in the 45 and 46 seconds range which is now the standard for the lower tier quarter-milers. The competitiveness of the high school championship and the development of more technically sound coaches have contributed to what we are seeing. As he rightly stated, this creates a strong possibility that Jamaica can one day top the medal count at the world championship.
Everything the preeminent journalist stated cannot be questioned. Yet I find myself asking will this overcome the loss of Bolt? There are so many things written and said about this athlete and no one in the history of Jamaica has ever caught the attention of Jamaicans like Bolt. His name has been invoked in so many metaphors and discussions; they are difficult to put a number.
Usain Bolt brought excitement to the world beyond the extraordinary
The event that he conquered and dominated for a period unheard of is hard to overcome regardless of how many events Jamaica participate and medal in. Of course one has to move on and allow the past to be the past. That I understand but the level of excitement he brought to the world and Jamaica is beyond the extraordinary. He created awe and excitement in the most arrogant athletes much less the everyday person.
Yes, Jamaica is growing exponentially in the technical event and middle distance to where the unthinkable of winning the female steeplechase by beating a top Kenyan, this happened at the 2018 Commonwealth games. Nevertheless, I do not believe these positive changes compensate for losing a Bolt.
The 100m final is the number one star event of any Olympics and World Championship. To have someone shattered the world record with such ease as we saw in 2008, mind-blowing 9.58 in 2009 and winning three Olympics triple (100m, 200m & 4x100m) in a row are things most would say not possible in their lifetime before they saw it.
Jamaica athletics is growing in quality with depth but unless they can find that athlete with the performance and personality to replace Bolt, it will be like a wound, time will be the healer.
Otherwise, Bolt shadow will loom large, especially if no one steps forward to be 100m and 4x100m world and Olympics champion. Regardless of what I think about the Bolt loss, I must admit that the growth and depth are tantalizing.