C.A.C. Performances at the 2008 Olympic Games 14 February 2009
Gold Medals (Men) – 5
100m – Usain Bolt (JAM) 9.69s (WR, OR)
200m – Usain Bolt (JAM) 19.30s (WR, OR)
110m Hurdles – Dayron Robles (CUB) 12.93s
Long Jump – Irving Saladino (PAN) 8.34m
4X100m – JAM (Nesta Carter, Michael Frater, Usain Bolt, Asafa Powell) 37.10s (WR, OR)
Gold Medals (Women) – 3
100m – Shelly-Ann Fraser (JAM) 10.78s
200m – Veronica Campbell (JAM) 21.74s
400m Hurdles – Melaine Walker (JAM) 52.64s (OR, NR)
Silver Medals (Men) – 3
100m – Richard Thompson (TRI) 9.89s (NR)
4X100m – TRI (Keston Bledman, Marc Burns, Emmanuel Callender, Richard Thompson) 38.06s
4X400m – BAH (Andretti Bain, Michael Mathieu, Andrae Williams, Chris Brown) 2:58.03
Silver Medals (Women) – 5
100m – Kerron Stewart (JAM) 10.98s
100m – Sherone Simpson (JAM) 10.98s
400m – Shericka Williams (JAM) 49.69s
Discus Throw – Yarelis Barrios (CUB) 63.64m
Hammer Throw – Yipsi Moreno (CUB) 75.20m
Bronze Medals (Men) – 3
Long Jump – Ibrahim Camejo (CUB) 8.20m
Triple Jump – Leevan Sands (BAH) 17.59m (NR)
Decathlon – Leonel Suárez (CUB) 8527 pts (NR)
Bronze Medals (Women) – 1
4X400m – JAM (Shericka Williams, Shereefa Lloyd, Rosemarie Whyte, Novlene Williams Mills) 3:20.40
4th Place (Men) – 4
100m – Churandy Martina (AHO) (NR)
400m – Chris Brown (BAH)
400m Hurdles – Danny McFarlane (JAM)
Triple Jump – David Giralt Jr. (CUB)
4th Place (Women) – 2
Long Jump – Chelsea Hammond (JAM)
Shot Put – Misleydis González (CUB)
5th Place (Men) – 2
100m – Asafa Powell (JAM)
Long Jump – Wilfredo Martínez (CUB)
5th Place (Women) – 2
100m Hurdles – Delloreen Ennis-London (JAM)
Triple Jump – Yargelis Savigne (CUB)
6th Place (Men) – 5
100m – Michael Frater (JAM)
200m – Kim Collins (SKN)
800m – Yeiman López (CUB)
110m Hurdles – Maurice Wignall (JAM)
50km Walk – Horacio Nava (MEX)
6th Place (Women) – 5
200m – Sherone Simpson (JAM)
800m – Kenia Sinclair (JAM)
100m Hurdles – Brigitte Foster-Hylton (JAM)
Javelin Throw – Osleidys Menéndez (CUB)
4X400m – CUB (Roxana Díaz, Zulia Calatayud, Susana Clement, Indira Terrero) (NR)
7th Place (Men) – 6
100m – Marc Burns (TRI)
200m – Churandy Martina (AHO) (*Finished second, later disqualified*)
400m – Renny Quow (TRI)
5000m – Juan Luis Barrios (MEX)
110m Hurdles – Richard Phillips (JAM)
400m Hurdles – Markino Buckley (JAM)
7th Place (Women) – 3
100m – Debbie Ferguson-McKenzie (BAH)
200m – Debbie Ferguson-McKenzie (BAH)
400m – Rosemarie Whyte (JAM)
8th Place (Men) – 1
4X400m – JAM (Michael Blackwood, Ricardo Chambers, Sanjay Ayre, Lansford Spence)
8th Place (Women) – 1
200m – Cydonie Mothersill (CAY)
Other Finalists (Top 12)
Decathlon – (9th) Maurice Smith (JAM)
20km Walk – (9th) Luis López (COL)
Triple Jump – (12th) Héctor Fuentes (CUB)
Shot Put – (10th) Mailín Vargas (CUB)
Triple Jump – (11th) Trecia-Kaye Smith (JAM)
C.A.C. Olympic Semi-Finalists
100m – Semi-final 1: (5th) Kim Collins (SKN); (6th) Derrick Atkins (BAH)
200m – Semi-final 1: (6th) Chris Williams (JAM)
– Semi-final 2: (5th) Brendan Christian (ANT)
400m – Semi-final 1: (4th) Nery Brenes (CRC); (6th) William Collazo (CUB); (7th) Tabarie Henry (ISV)
– Semi-final 2: (4th) Ricardo Chambers (JAM); (7th) Andretti Bain (BAH)
- Semi-final 3: (6th) Michael Mathieu (BAH)
110m Hurdles – Semi-final 1: (8th) Paulo Villar (COL)
– Semi-final 2: (7th) Ryan Brathwaite (BAR)
400m Hurdles – Semi-final 1: (5th) Isa Phillips (JAM); (8th) Javier Culson (PUR)
– Semi-final 2: (6th) Jonathan Williams (BIZ); (8th) Bayano Kamani (PAN)
100m – Semi-final 1: (5th) Chandra Sturrup (BAH)
400m – Semi-final 1: (4th) Aliann Pompey (GUY); (6th) Indira Terrero (CUB); (8th) Gabriela Medina (MEX)
– Semi-final 2: (3rd) Novlene Williams (JAM); (4th) Christine Amertil (BAH)
800m – Semi-final 1: (5th) Rosibel García (COL)
– Semi-final 2: (4th) Zulia Calatayud (CUB)
- Semi-final 3: (7th) Neisha Bernard-Thomas (GRN)
100m Hurdles – Semi-final 2: (5th) Vonette Dixon (JAM); (DNF) Anay Tejeda (CUB)
400m Hurdles – Semi-final 1: (5th) Nickiesha Wilson (JAM)
C.A.C. Summary of the 2008 Olympic Games
The 2008 Beijing Olympics will always stand out as the most successful Games ever for athletes from the Central America and Caribbean area. Leading the charge were the sprinters from Jamaica, who captured five gold and two silver medals in the five shortest (100m, 200m and 4X100m) flat events on the track. There was another gold medal for the Jamaicans, through the efforts of 400-metre hurdler Melaine Walker, while Cuba and Panama also heard their anthems played in Beijing.
An event-by-event analysis of the fortunes of regional athletes follows:
100 metres (Men)
Usain Bolt’s easy-looking world record of 9.69s vindicated his standing as one of the all-time greats despite this being his first year of serious competition in the event. Although his teammate Asafa Powell, the most consistently fast sprinter of his time, once more disappointed on the big stage with a fifth place finish, the second rung on the podium went to the Trinidad and Tobago sprinter, Richard Thompson. It had been felt that he might have been drained by a long collegiate season but such was not the case.
In an unprecedented show of dominance, Caribbean sprinters occupied six of the eight final places. Churandy Martina of the Netherlands Antilles improved one place on last year’s Osaka result by claiming fourth, in national record time. Jamaica’s Michael Frater, 2005 World Championships silver medallist, was sixth in Beijing but dipped under 10 seconds for the first time. In seventh was Trinidad and Tobago’s Marc Burns who consolidated his reputation as a big meet performer, having also been a finalist at the last two World Championships.
200 metres (Men)
Michael Johnson’s 19.32s world record had been thought to be unattainable for years to come. It was felt that eventually Usain Bolt would be the man to challenge it, but few would have wagered on the possibility after four rounds of the 100m and three preliminary rounds of the 200m. But Bolt was not to be denied, leaving his rivals for dead midway down the straight.
In second place, or so it seemed, was Churandy Martina, who would have given the Netherlands Antilles their first Olympic athletics medal. However, in a stunning development, both Martina and the third place finisher, Wallace Spearmon of the U.S.A., were disqualified for lane violations. Moving up to sixth place, in the amended results, was the veteran Kim Collins, who had largely abandoned the event since winning the first of his World Championships medals at Edmonton in 2001.
Antigua and Barbuda’s Brendan Christian, thought to be a medal contender, finished fifth in his semi-final.
400 metres (Men)
Chris Brown of The Bahamas, so often a fourth place finisher in major competitions, must have fancied his bronze medal chances in Beijing behind the American “Big Two” of Jeremy Wariner and LaShawn Merritt. He nearly got it too, but lost out to the frantic lunge of the third American, David Neville. Another Caribbean finalist was the young Trinidad and Tobago athlete, Renny Quow. A world junior champion in 2006, he arrived at the top senior level ahead of schedule.
Several other young, C.A.C., 400-metre runners made their marks by getting to the semi-finals. Nery Brenes of Costa Rica, with a sub-45 second clocking, and Tabarie Henry of the U.S. Virgin Islands both set national records. Also impressive was Cuba’s William Collazo. Jamaica’s Ricardo Chambers, of whom much was expected, did not experience a very smooth transition from collegiate to open competition.
800 metres (Men)
Although there were several other C.A.C. entries, the tall Cuban Yeiman López was the only regional 800-metre runner thought to be capable of making an impression. This was based largely on a performance in Spain that placed him near the top of the world performance list. Despite his unquestioned ability, López fell short of his predecessors Juantorena and Téllez in tactical ability, and could do no better than a sixth place finish.
5000 metres (Men)
As has often been the case in major international competitions, a relatively unfancied Mexican, in this case, Juan Luis Barrios crashed the party, finishing seventh.
110-metre Hurdles (Men)
The much anticipated showdown between, the Olympic champion and Chinese national hero, Liu Xiang and, the new world record holder, Dayron Robles of Cuba never materialized, as the Chinese hurdler had to withdraw through injury. As it developed, Robles was never headed as he cruised to a comfortable victory. The Jamaican veteran Maurice Wignall must have surpassed all but his own expectations in finishing sixth. Even less fancied was his teammate Richard Phillips, who rose to the occasion and finished seventh in the final.
There was also promise for the future in the person of the young Barbadian Ryan Brathwaite, one year removed from the junior ranks. He looked like a possible finalist after setting a national record in the second round but ran out of steam in the semis, finishing 7th.
400-metre Hurdles (Men)
Danny McFarlane of Jamaica, second in 2004 as a relative newcomer to the event, finished fourth in Beijing, unable to forestall a sweep by American athletes. Markino Buckley, who had begun to make a name for himself in 2007, moved into the ranks of the elite as the Jamaican reached the line seventh in Beijing.
There were other C.A.C. athletes who left The Bird’s Nest with enhanced reputations. Belize’s Jonathan Williams set a national record in his semi-final. Other semi-finalists, albeit with performances below their bests, were the Puerto Rican Javier Culson, Jamaica’s Isa Phillips and the Panamanian veteran Bayano Kamani.
High Jump (Men)
Bahamian Donald Thomas, the high jump revelation of 2006 and World Champion in Osaka, in 2007, had a nightmare of a season in 2008 and failed to qualify for the final in Beijing. The other leading regional performer, the Cuban Victor Moya, suffered a knee injury in winning at the C.A.C. Championships in Cali and competed no more in 2008.
Long Jump (Men)
Not quite Iván Pedroso yet, but getting there, the Brazil-trained Panamanian Irving Saladino confirmed his pedigree as a superstar of the event. Winner of both the 2007 World Championships and 2008 Olympic Games, Saladino joined Pedroso and the American, Carl Lewis, as the only jumpers to have achieved that double.
Cuban long jumpers also did well with the hitherto inconsistent Ibrahim Camejo taking the bronze medal and C.A.C. champion Wilfredo Martínez finishing fifth.
Triple Jump (Men)
Grenada’s hopes for their first Olympic medal lay primarily in this event where Randy Lewis had emerged as one of the world’s best, though often producing indifferent results at the major events. In Beijing, he jumped a creditable 17.06m but in a high level competition that proved insufficient to advance to the finals. Third and fourth places in the final nonetheless went to Caribbean jumpers, with Bahamian Leevan Sands finishing one position ahead of the Cuban, David Giralt Jr. Another Cuban, Héctor Fuentes, was 12th.
Shot Put (Men)
Jamaica’s Dorian Scott had enjoyed an outstanding season prior to Beijing, becoming the first C.A.C. thrower to surpass 21 metres (and 70 feet). Consistently over 20m all season, he would have been tipped as a likely Olympic finalist. However, he failed to pass the 20m mark and remained outside the last twelve as did the promising young Cubans, Carlos Véliz and Reynaldo Proenza.
Discus Throw (Men)
With their best throwers of recent years now based in Spain, Cuba’s hopes were carried by 20-year old Jorge Fernández. The C.A.C. 2008 champion found the occasion too much for him in Beijing and was far from his best.
Until Beijing, an athlete from the Central American and Caribbean area had never won an Olympic medal in the decathlon. If one were to ascend the podium, the obvious choice of most pundits would have been Jamaican Maurice Smith, a silver medallist at the 2007 World Championships. However, Smith was off his best in several key events and finished ninth. Instead, pride of place went to Cuba’s Leonel Suárez, not yet 21 years old, who rode five personal bests to a third-place finish. His teammate Yordanis García, eighth in Osaka as a junior, completed his first decathlon of 2008 in 15th position.
4X100 metres (Men)
Led by double sprint champion Usain Bolt, along with fellow 100-metre finalists Asafa Powell and Michael Frater and sub-10 second sprinter Nesta Carter, the Jamaicans seemed unlikely to be headed, especially in the absence of the Americans, who had come a cropper in their semi-final heat. And so it was. The Jamaicans destroyed the Olympic and World records with a 37.10 second clocking. Behind them, Trinidad and Tobago, anchored by 100m silver medallist Richard Thompson, claimed silver, their first Olympic medals in the event.
4X100 metres (Men)
Jamaica, a traditional powerhouse in this event, had fallen off the boil somewhat in recent years. Not so the Bahamas, who continued their string of success that had begun with the 2001 World Championships and continued for three more. Surprisingly, perhaps, their only Olympic 1600-metre relay medal came when their Sydney fourth place finish was upgraded to bronze after a retroactive drugs disqualification. In Beijing, they won the silver, holding off an inspired Russian team by .02 seconds.
100 metres (Women)
At the start of 2008, few would have imagined possible a sweep of the medals in this event, an achievement never before accomplished. When World Champion Veronica Campbell failed to qualify at the Jamaican Trials, it seemed almost inevitable that medals would be shared by at least two countries. The ladies in gold, black and green had other ideas however. Leading the charge was Shelly-Ann Fraser, little-known prior to 2008, who reached the line in 10.78 seconds. Her teammates Kerron Stewart and Sherone Simpson, both of whom had emerged as world-class sprinters in 2006, tied for second place.
200 metres (Women)
Jamaica’s Veronica Campbell-Brown stamped her claim for consideration as one of the most successful female athletes of all-time. Her defence of her Athens 200-metre crown was made all the sweeter after her exclusion from the trio that contested the 100 metres, an event in which she was the 2007 World Champion. Trailing in her wake at Beijing were compatriots Kerron Stewart (3rd) and sixth-placed Sherone Simpson. The veteran Bahamian star, Debbie Ferguson-McKenzie, finished seventh, as she did in the shorter dash, while Cydonie Mothersill became the Cayman Islands’ first female Olympic finalist.
400 metres (Women)
A Jamaican named Williams won a silver medal in the Beijing 400-metre dash. But it was not Novlene, with a c.v. that included several individual and relay medals, but rather the up-and-coming Shericka, who broke the 50-second barrier for the first time. In seventh place was her surprising teammate Rosemarie Whyte, a multi-talented athlete who may have found her best event.
Caribbean athletes made an impression lower down as well, with Commonwealth 2002 champion Aliann Pompey getting a personal best, while Cuba’s C.A.C. gold medallist Indira Terrero also showed promise.
800 metres (Women)
Kenia Sinclair, a world-class athlete for several years, finally made the final of a global event with a sixth-place effort in Beijing. Zulia Calatayud of Cuba, the 2005 World Champion, should have joined her in the last eight but ran a tactically unsound race in her semi. Colombian Rosibel García, the C.A.C. winner, and Grenada’s Neisha Bernard-Thomas also would have been pleased with new national records, although the Grenadian finished tantalizingly close to bettering the two-minute barrier.
100-metre Hurdles (Women)
The two Jamaican veterans, Delloreen Ennis-London and Brigitte Foster-Hylton, finished fifth and sixth respectively in a final in which the clear favourite, American Lolo Jones, came to grief at the last hurdle.
There were two other regional semi-finalists – the third Jamaican Vonette Dixon, who finished fifth in her flight, and the Cuban C.A.C. champion Anay Tejeda, who failed to finish.
400-metre Hurdles (Women)
The Jamaican, Melaine Walker, a former child prodigy, swept all before her in 2008, crowning her season with Olympic gold in Beijing. She established a new Olympic record with her 52.64-second performance, which was also a C.A.C. best-ever mark.
Her teammate, Nickiesha Wilson, 4th at the World Championships in Osaka, finished fifth in her semi-final in Beijing. For Wilson, this ended a long and stellar collegiate season in which she excelled in both hurdle events.
Long Jump (Women)
In an event where the formchart was turned on its head, several favourites fell by the wayside in the qualifying round. Not so the unfancied Jamaican, Chelsea Hammond. National Champion in 2007-08, she had a rather slender international record before uncorking a personal best 6.79m leap for 4th at Beijing.
Triple Jump (Women)
Yargelis Savigne of Cuba, I.A.A.F. World Champion in 2007 as well as 2008 World Indoor Champion must have fancied her chances to add Olympic gold to her resume. However at Beijing, although she did not jump badly, four others jumped better and her 15.05m mark was sufficient only for fifth. A more positive surprise came from the 2005 World Champion, Trecia Smith of Jamaica. Injured for most of the past two years, and with no qualifying mark beyond 14.35m, she came through to make the Olympic final with a leap of 14.18m.
Shot Put (Women)
There would be no repeat of Olympic gold for the jovial Cuban, Yumileidi Cumbá. Hampered by injuries for three years, she was a longshot to reach the final and, indeed, came up short. Another highly-regarded thrower to depart in the qualifying round was Trinidad and Tobago’s Cleopatra Borel-Brown, C.A.C. champion and World Indoor 7th placer this year.
However, all was not gloom for the region. The Cuban, Misleydis González, continued to show her worth as a competitor at the highest level, reaching a personal best of 19.50m in finishing fourth. Her teammate, Mailín Vargas, a relative newcomer, placed 10th.
Discus Throw (Women)
Yarelis Barrios of Cuba, Pan Am Games champion and World Championships bronze medallist, was second in Beijing behind the surprising American, Stephanie Brown-Trafton. Not doing so well was her compatriot, Yania Ferrales, who once more failed to convert long throws into Championship form, failing to reach the final twelve.
Hammer Throw (Women)
Yipsi Moreno of Cuba, twice a World Champion, added a second Olympic silver to reside with her two from the last two World Championships. Her teammates, Arasay Thondike and Yunaika Crawford, who were both finalists at the Osaka World Championships failed to make the cut in Beijing,as did Trinidad and Tobago’s C.A.C. champion Candice Scott.
Javelin Throw (Women)
With the retirement of Sonia Bisset, the hopes of the region rested on the shoulders of the Cuban world record holder, Osleidys Menéndez. Unfortunately, since her brilliant performance at the Helsinki World Championships, she had been dogged by injury. Given the circumstances, her 6th place finish in Beijing was highly commendable.
4X100 metres (Women)
Jamaica, with a sweep in the 100 metres and also boasting the 200-metre champion, ranked as hot favourites for Olympic gold and a possible world record. It was not to be though, as the most basic element of relay running – getting the baton around – was breached in the preliminary round. The upshot was that, for the first time in over a generation, there would be no C.A.C. representation in a global 4X100m relay final.
4X400 metres (Women)
The Jamaican women’s bronze medals were reflective of form but few would have picked the Cubans as finalists. Their sixth place finish, in national record time, represented their best global result since 1999.