Fri | Sep 22, 2017

World Champs medal history ...Frater's silver started a golden era

Published:Monday | July 17, 2017 | 7:00 AMHubert Lawrence
Frater (left) and Powell.

When Michael Frater finished second in the 100m at the 2005 IAAF World Championships in Helsinki, Finland, he accomplished three things. On an individual basis, Frater joined Herb McKenley, Lennox Miller and Raymond Stewart in a small group of 100m medal winners for Jamaica at the highest level. He ended a Jamaican men's 100m medal drought spanning eight World Championships. Thirdly, he jump-started a period of outstanding sprint success for his country.

Second only to American Justin Gatlin, Frater's 2005 World silver matched the medals won by McKenley at the 1952 Olympics, by Miller at the 1968 Olympics. More importantly, he ended the drought that went back to a silver medal for Stewart, and the 1987 World Championships. Jamaican 100m men have remained on the podium ever since.

Asafa Powell won the first of his two bronze medals in 2007 and placed third in the 2009 final when Usain Bolt won in the world record time of 9.58 seconds. Yohan Blake became the youngest 100m world champion in 2011 after Bolt's unforgettable false start. The Jamaican medal collection is completed by two more gold medals for Bolt, won in 2013 and 2015, and a bronze for Nesta Carter in 2013.

A top-three finish for Bolt, Blake, Julian Forte or Senoj-Jay Givans at next month's World Championships would bring Jamaica to the ten-medal mark overall. A win for the tall man would move him ahead of Carl Lewis, who, like Bolt, won the 100 three times. Lewis triumphed in the era when the Worlds were staged every four years, an era that ended after his third win in 1991.

Had the current two year World Championship rotation started in 1989, Stewart might have preceded Bolt and Blake as a 100m gold-medal winner. He was brilliant throughout his senior year at Texas Christian University and was ranked number one in the world for the 1989 season by the respected US journal, Track and Field News. He went on to reach the World 100m finals in 1991, 1993 and 1995.