Brazil will be better! - Harvey believes Jamaica will surpass 12 medals at Rio Olympics
Noted former athlete and administrator, Ray Harvey, believes Jamaica is in line to improve on the 12 medals they won at the 2012 London Olympic Games.
Harvey said early indications are that double Olympic gold medallists Usain Bolt and Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce stand to return to the top spot on the podium and that other stars, along several newcomers, will surprise the world in Rio.
"I am expecting Bolt and Fraser-Pryce to win again in Rio. Bolt likely will take the double again. I see Yohan Blake as his only real threat in the 100m. I think, by the time the Games are here, American Justin Gatlin won't be in such fine form," Harvey said.
Jamaica won 12 medals at the last Olympics - a composite of four gold, four silver and four bronze - their greatest haul in both quality and quantity.
"The London Games was brilliant for us, but I think in Brazil, we will do even better. There are some emerging stars out there for us, and I suspect they will be in superb form by then," said Harvey.
"Again, we will dominate the sprints and could emerge with some surprising field events medals," he said.
"The likelihood of this happening is based on several factors, but one is very critical to the others, and that is because we have developed a very strong track and field culture, starting from a very early age."
Harvey praised the system that takes athletes from the kindergarten level, through primary/prep school to high school and college or university thereafter, as the best in the world and one which will continue creating avenues for the athletes to shine.
At London 2012, Bolt accounted for three of Jamaica's four gold medals, winning the 100m, 200m and was part of the world record 4x100m relay team that also included Yohan Blake, Nesta Carter and Michael Frater. The quartet ran 36.84 to set the new record. The gold medal was won by Fraser-Pryce in the women's 100m.
Add to the list the likes of Elaine Thompson, who recently ran a wind-aided 10.71 to win the women's 100m title at the Jamaica International Invitational in Kingston, the red-hot 110m hurdler, Omar McLeod, Hansel Parchment and Kemar Bailey-Cole on the track.
Also factor in 2015 World Champion 100m hurdler, Danielle Williams, and Harvey feels the country could get up to 14 medals if it goes according to plan.
Harvey was keynote speaker at Tuesday's press launch for the 2016 staging of the JPS Western Athletics Championships, slated for June 1 at the Montego Bay Sports Complex.