George Graham

The Next Fastest Human?

Somebody once said the glory of the Olympics is not to have won but to have taken part.  And I hope they’re right because although I didn’t win, I took part in Jamaica’s equivalent of the Olympics – the secondary schools’ annual track-and-field championships.

I wouldn’t have won, anyway, but I have a good excuse. I sprained my ankle in training. And competing with the sprained ankle, I didn’t do very well.

I didn’t realize at the time how big a deal those championships were.  My cousin, Pat Swaby, had won the 100-yards dash a couple of years earlier and my schoolmates at Munro College not only won numerous events every year but routinely set records. So you can imagine my surprise when I read this in Yahoo News today:

Right in the country’s own backyard are the Inter-Secondary Schools Boys and Girls Championships. Better known simply as “Champs,” it might be the best place in the world to find the next Fastest Human Alive.

The report, produced by the editors of GQ Magazine, speculates that Usain Bolt’s successor might be among the kids who competed in this year’s “Champs.”  And it includes photos of various prospects who could claim that honor.

The magazine could be right, I suppose, but it’s hard to believe anyone will ever be as good as Usain.

I know, I know, Jamaica produces a lot of speedy kids. There’s a 12-year-old prodigy named Brianna Lyston, for example. This kid (at right in photo above) smashed the under-13 200-metre record at the Boys and Girls Championships, posting a time of 23.72 in the final of Boys and Girls Championship. And in the 100-metre final, she won with a time of 11.86 seconds.

Trust me, those are spectacular times for a 12-year-old.

So is Usain’s successor going to be a girl?

Why not? Jamaican women are quite formidable, and I wouldn’t be surprised if one of them becomes the fastest person on earth some day.

The notion of “the weaker sex”  might be due for revision.  And it’s little Jamaica that could do it.

The GQ photo spread

The Brianna Lyston story

Usain Bolt’s impact

About the author

gwgraeme

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 Jamaicans.com