George Graham

In Usain’s Shadow

Jamaica's Elaine Thompson celebrates after she won the Women's 100m Final during the athletics event at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games at the Olympic Stadium in Rio de Janeiro on August 13, 2016. / AFP PHOTO / OLIVIER MORIN

The Olympic games are history and the eyes of the world have moved on to newer attractions, but I haven’t said all I want to say about the historic spectacle in Rio.

I would like to give belated laurels to Elaine Thompson.  Like Usain Bolt, the Jamaican sprinter won both the 100-meter and 200-meter events. She also won a silver on the Jamaican 4-by-100-meter relay team. (Usain won gold in the men’s 4-by-100 relay.)

But Elaine hasn’t received anywhere near Usain’s glory.

It’s understandable, I suppose. Usain is one of a kind. The world may never see anything like him again.

But – at just 24 years old – Elaine is special, too. We’ll be hearing a lot more about her as she matures.

I read this morning that she just won a 200-meter event in Zurich. She not only won but did it in record time. And against top-flight competition, including Dafne Schippers of Holland, who finished second, and America’s Allyson Felix, who came in third.

After the race, Elaine said what so many Jamaicans abroad keep saying: “I’m longing to get back to Jamaica.”

I hope she gets a hero’s welcome back home.

She deserves it. As do all of the Jamaican Olympics squad. Imagine, they won 11 medals, six of them gold! Some feat for an island with fewer than 3 million people, isn’t it?

And it’s not just because of the Jamaican men. The women did their share. In addition’to Elaine’s gold medals, they won silver medals in both the 4-by-400 and the 4-by-100 relays. Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce won a bronze in the 100-meter sprint and Shericka Jackson won the bronze at 400 meters.

Jamaica has an outstanding record in women’s athletics, producing many famous champions.

So it’s time to applaud our female athletes. They make me proud to be a Jamaican.

More on the race in Zurich

More on Jamaica’s team

More on Elaine

About the author


I am a Jamaican-born writer who has lived and worked in Canada and the United States. I live in Lakeland, Florida with my wife, Sandra, our three cats and two dogs. I like to play golf and enjoy our garden, even though it's a lot of work. Since retiring from newspaper reporting I've written a few books. I also write a monthly column for