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Usain Bolt the Fastest Human - Does Yam Contributes to His Superb Speed Like His Father Claimed?

Updated on May 24, 2013

Usain Bolt 2012 Olympic Performance

Pics of Bolt

 Usain Bolt Signature Poise
Usain Bolt Signature Poise

Jamican's Yam

Usain Bolt, AkA "Lightning Bolt", the world fastest man alive, has repeated the stunning performance he gave in the men's 100m final in Beijing, during the 2004 Olympic. This time, the only difference is that he erased the old Olympic record of 9.69sec, he set in Beijing and replaced it with a new record of 9.63 sec in the 2012 Olympic, currently being held in London.

He now joins Carl Lewis as the second man to win that event back-to-back in the history of Olympics. However, he is the first man to ever win both the 100 and 200 meters back-to-back. Not only did Usain performs spectacular, he also broke his own 2004 Olympic record to set a new record in this current 2012 London Olympic games.

After his performance in Beijing, his dad claimed that his performance is due to the "Yam" that he has been eating over the years, but honestly, I personally believe this was meant to be a joke! If this were the case, all Jamaicans would be track stars simply because Yam is one of the staples that is consumed a lot by almost everyone in Jamaica. Another reason this theory doesn't hold true is due to the fact other Caribbean Islands and other countries as well have been eating Yam and still haven't been able to produce superb sprinters.

Even here in the U.S, many people have been eating yam or other equivalent starchy foods, such as Pasta, Bread,Potatoes and more, yet they are as slow as a "tortoise"; while others such as Tyson Gay,Carl Lewis, and other top U.S. male and female sprinters who haven't been eating Yam were still able to run at superb speed.

The question is, if yam is not responsible for the superb performance of Bolt, like his father claimed, what is it then? The explanation for this I personally think is very simple. In fact, if you are following sports commentary or the Olympic games, you might have heard that there was another Jamaican sprinter(Yohan Blake)who many people thought would have beaten Bolt in the 100meter, however, he finished second. It was alleged that he outran Usain in the 100m Olympic trial in Jamaica.

Any man who outran the fastest man alive, no doubt, is also a very fast runner and should be given some respect! Something must be going on why Bolt's rivalry was also another Jamaican! But if we take a look also at the women sprinters from Jamaica, they also usually perform well in both the 100 and 200m races.

In fact, in Beijing, the Jamaican female sprinters finished 1st, 2nd, and 3rd in the 100m. In this current 2012 London Olympic, the winner of the women's 100m was also a Jamaican. Of course, it was a tight battle between the U.S. and Jamaica, which ended in a very close finish.This goes to show that recently,not only Jamaica has known to produce some of the fastest male sprinters -- they also have been producing some of the top female sprinters.

This is what I think, first, the main reason Bolt has such superb speed is partly due to his genetic makeup! Secondly, in Jamaica, the moment you enter Grade School(Primary School), a tremendous amount of emphasis is placed on physical education. Every child is placed in what is known as a "House", each house may take the name of a color (Red house, Blue house, White house, Black house etc), or the name of some Popular People, such as the Country's National Heroes and so on. The school then set aside a day they called "sports Day"--- the day when all the houses will compete against each other for the championship.

It's common to see boys and girls of all ages competing in footraces after school and on weekends, in preparation for Sports Day. Even after sports day, they will continue these foot races. Sports day is usually a huge event, an entire village and also neighboring communities usually come out to support this "all day" occasion. Not only does the students get prizes along with certificates --- spectators may also give them a few dollars for their effort or spectacular performance.

When children enter High School, or Secondary Schools, both the house system and the kind of support sports day usually get from the communities usually remain similar to that of Grade School. However, a bit more emphasis is usually placed on physical education and the overall preparation of students for High School sports day and all the following championships:

  • High School Track and Field Championships
  • Regional High School Championships
  • National Championships
  • Girl's Championships
  • Boy's Championships
  • Gibson Relays
  • Special Developmental Track Meets

Other community level track events that also help to boost the performance of athletes in Jamaica, include the following:

  • Local Youth Clubs Meets
  • National Youth Clubs Meets
  • Police Youth Clubs Meets
  • After School and Weekend Community Foot Races


To summarize, Yam is not responsible for the superb performance of Usain Bolt like his father claimed. His superb performance, I believe is primarily due to his genetic makeup which is further enhanced by the day- to- day and all year around competitions that he has to face from his competitors(who are somewhat addicted to running)in his own community, throughout grade school, high school, and even post high school.

I.McFarlane 8/10/12


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