André Lowe, Senior Staff Reporter
Usain Bolt, Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce, Asafa Powell and Veronica Campbell-Brown are quite accustomed to commanding attention wherever they go, however, they have been sharing the spotlight with some of the country's brightest young talent here, as Jamaica's upcoming stars get in on the Olympics.
Already bulging with well-known star quantity, Jamaica's 47-member track and field team also features a number of bright-eyed youngsters, who will be making their first appearance at an Olympic Games, over the next few weeks.
Some 23 individuals in Jamaica's squad will be making their first appearance at an Olympic Games, including several already established figures such as world 100m champion Yohan Blake and 400m hurdles medal favourite Kaliese Spencer.
THE YOUNGEST ON THE TEAM
Rusheen McDonald is the youngest member of the team and for the 19-year-old MVP Track Club quarter-miler, getting here has served to motivate him to work harder as he looks to get himself in the best possible condition to take on the best the world has to offer.
McDonald, fresh out of Garvey Maceo High School and now studying at the Univer-sity of Technology in Kingston produced one of the surprises of the Jamaican Olympics trials, taking the scalp of pre-race 400m favourite Jermaine Gonzales in his second-place finish to Dane Hyatt after running a personal best of 45.10 during the trials, which also makes him the second-fastest Jamaican this year.
THE BIGGEST STAGE
Not a man of many words, even McDonald couldn't help but show his excitement as he rubs shoulders with some of the world's biggest stars, all while he gets ready himself, to make his bow on the biggest stage.
"This feels great so far, it's great to be an Olympian and I'm just working hard to do my best here," said McDonald. "I Just want to go out there to do my best for my country and hope God willing, that it will be positive."
McDonald, who will celebrate his 20th birthday just days after the Olympic Games, is not the only 'rookie' who has created a stir this year, as Racers man Warren Weir has dived right into the action, lapping up every second of the Games experience.
In-between signing autographs and posing for photographs, Weir - a former Calabar High School standout athlete, shared just how special the experience has been for him.
"This is a very great feeling, it didn't really soak in until I went into the training camp and it's great to know that I'm here representing Jamaica and Calabar High in the year of our anniversary, and many years ago Herb McKenley came here representing the country and the school; this means a lot to me," said Weir.
FIRST IN HISTORY
Sprint hurdler Andrew Riley, who this year created history by becoming the first athlete in NCAA history to win both the 100m and 110m hurdles in the same year, is hoping to put his best foot forward in this his first Olympic Games.
"I am very happy with how things have gone, this is my first Olympics and I'm just taking it all in stride and looking to make the most of this experience," Riley told The Gleaner. "I'm just focused on going in and competing to the best of my ability. I'm definitely looking to compete in all three rounds and that will get me into the final and in a hurdles race anything can happen so that's the focus."
Schillonie Calvert, Latoya Greaves, Kimberly Williams, Dane Hyatt, Josef Robertson, Damar Forbes, Traves Smikle, Jason Morgan and Hansle Parchment are among the other first-time Olympians in the Jamaican team.