George Graham

Jamaica’s Double Whammy




Of course you know that Usain Bolt beat that mouthy Justin Gatlin in China on Sunday. But did you know Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce made history on Monday?

If there’s one thing Jamaicans can do – and do superbly – it’s sprint.

If I had been born in America or Canada, I might have been considered a sprinter. Through my teens, I consistently ran between 10 and 11 seconds in the hundred-yards dash. But even that far back, the top Jamaican teenagers were breaking 10 seconds.

Today, athletes run 100 meters, not yards, and the best are significantly below 10 seconds even in that lengthier sprint (almost 10 yards longer – a 10 percent difference).

Consider Usain Bolt. His 9.79 seconds on Sunday was enough – just enough – to nip Gatlin. And it wasn’t his best. Bolt has been known to clock 9.58 seconds, the current world record (I suppose that would be about 8.6 if he were running 100 yards?).

And consider Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce.

The first woman ever to win three world 100-meter titles, Shelly-Ann roared home in 10.76 seconds. And she grumbled about her time.

She told reporters she was “tired of the ten-sevens.”

Yes, Shelly-Ann. I bet they taught you this rhyme back in school:

Good, better best, never let it rest until your good is better and your better best.

I know I learned that rhyme back in the  old, wooden schoolhouse in Guy’s Hill when I was eight. And I suppose we all learned it, we Jamaicans, so proud, so feisty, so driven by the desire to win, and by the determination to do our best at whatever we do, wherever we find ourselves in this world.

Click for the story.

Click to watch Bolt’s win.

Click to watch Shelly-Ann.

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