Why Do Jamaicans Run So Fast
Jamaicans are the Fastest runners
"Why do Jamaicans run so fast?" is the question on a lot of people's minds because at the 2012 Olympic Games in London England Sprinters from Jamaica dominated the track and made it look quite easy. A single country dominating a particular sport is certainly not new. American have been the ones who have dominated Olympic track and field for the past 40 years or more. What is astonishing about the rise of Jamaican athletics is the fact Jamaica only has a population of approx. 3 million people to vet from while the population of the US is 300 million.
So, why are Jamaicans able to run so fast? There has been several untruths and misconceptions floating around, none of which has had any validity. Being a Jamaican myself I have good insight as to why our athletes have risen to prominence. It has to do with our diet, our Athletic Traditions, and just plain determination. Hopefully after reading this you will have a better understanding of Jamaica’s sporting culture.
As stated before there are several misconceptions about Jamaican athletics. Some of them involve drugs and doping but the percentage of actual proven cases of doping is minuscule compared to the very high profile cases of other countries. Perhaps the most controversial lie that has been floating around is that Jamaicans were genetically bread to be good athletes as a result of Slavery.
It is said that in the 1700s during the hay day of slavery slave owners bread strong slaves by picking the biggest and strongest among the slaves and used them to sire bigger and stronger slaves with as many women as possible, similar to the siring of Horses. First of all if that were true Jamaicans would be the most physically prominent and strongest Black people in the world today.
The truth is slavery in Jamaica was a very turbulent affair for the British. There were large groups of Africans who took over their slave ships before they docked. Once on land, these Africans known as the Maroons set up camps deep in the hills and forests of Jamaica and ran regular raids against the plantations, freeing other slaves to bolster their ranks. The descendants of the Maroons are still in Jamaica today while the Spirits of other brave Africans who died fighting slavery still live on in our hearts and minds to strengthen our will.
Reasons why Jamaicans run so fast
The real reasons why Jamaicans run so fast for one is our Diet. We traditionally eat natural unprocessed nutrient rich fruits and vegetables. These foods are fruits and vegetables such as; Yellow Yams, Green Bananas, Plantains, Dasheen, Cocoe, Watercress, Collaloo as well as naturally grown meats and fishes. We like to make our own high energy drinks from vegetables and other medicinal herbs. These drinks are designed to improve stamina and we give them appropriate names like; Strong Back, Baba Roots, Irish Moss, High Step 12, Magnum, Vigor, and Front End Lifter.
Jamaica has such a rich athletic tradition that even a baby is encouraged to run before he or she is able to walk. As a child, when you are sent to the store you run or you will get in trouble for taking too long. When you are going to school you run because if you are late you will get a detention. Our two main sports, Soccer and Cricket involve a lot of running so getting and staying in shape is a must. There are numerous school competitions as well the rise of amateur sport which has inspired more and more youth to get into sport to improve their lives as Jamaica has very little in the way of economic opportunity.
Finally, Jamaicans are a very determined people. We feel that we are the best at whatever we put our minds to. That determination translates into a very competitive spirit. When we are faced with hardship we co-opt different aspects of our culture such as strong religious beliefs or music that is rhythmic and rich with conscious reinforcements to help us accomplish our goals. If you observe Usian Bolt before his races you will see him bopping his head to a beat that he has playing in his head. That beat is no doubt a hard driving Dancehall tune such as “I’m So Special” by Movado that he will use to power himself to the finish line.
Yes, Jamaica is a very small country but we are feisty in spirit. Hopefully you have gained some insights into how and why we are able to run so fast. Jamaica to the world!
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