Gary Spaulding, Senior Gleaner Writer
TRELAWNY WAS not blessed with anything remotely resembling an athletic stadium for many years and to this day, does not flaunt one of the prized institutions with enviable athletic reputations.
Yet, fascinatingly, the parish has produced more than a dozen notable athletes who have made Jamaica proud over recent years.
Ironically, it was after sprint queens Merlene Ottey and Veronica Campbell-Brown as well as the legendary Usain Bolt emerged on the scene that a facility was erected in the parish, not to accommodate track stars, but for the 2007 Cricket World Cup.
Bolt, the world-record holder of both the 100 and 200 metres, is the only man to hold both marks in the history of the sports. He was the 2008 Olympic triple gold medallist and 2009 World Champion in both the 100 and 200 metres.
Ottey, whose prowess and longevity have repeatedly been noised locally and abroad, was born in Cold Spring in the parish.
Campbell Brown, who is running to challenge Ottey's (her idol) amazing endurance levels, was born to Cecil Campbell and Pamella Bailey in Clarks Town. One of 10 children, VCB attended Vere Technical High School in Clarendon before pursuing higher education in the United States.
Remarkably, Veronica is married to another athlete, Omar Brown who was also born in Trelawny. Like his wife, Omar specialised in the 200 metres.
Brown was relatively successful as a junior athlete, copping the silver and bronze medals in the 200 metres and 100 metres races at the 1999 World Youth Championships. The following year he finished fourth at the World Junior Championships.
Marvin Anderson who was born in Trelawny on May 12, 1982, finished sixth in the 200m final at the 2007 World Championships in Osaka where he also won a silver medal in the 4x100m relay team for Jamaica. He is a former student of Duncans All Age and William Knibb Memorial High School, the school that Bolt attended.
Then there is the rising star and Olympic bronze medalist Warren Weir who was born in the parish to Celese Clarke and Uriel Weir. Later, he attended Waterford Primary School in St. Catherine. He earned a place at St. George's College but opted for Calabar High School.
Trelawny is also the birthplace of Michael Frater and his older brother Lindel. The younger of the two Wolmerians has been an unassuming warrior for Jamaica making a list of Olympic and world Championship 100 metres finals.
Other noteworthy athletes who hail from Trelawny include Voletta Wallace, Lerone Clarke, Michael Greene, Inez Turner and Debbie-Ann Parris.
Sanya Richards-Ross, the 2012 gold medal winner for the 400 metres in the London Olympics and the World Championships in 2011, was also born in Trelawny. She attended Vaz Preparatory and Immaculate Conception High School, before migrating to the United States.
Disgraced sprinter, Ben Johnson who was also born in Trelawny is perhaps the aberration, marring the enviable reputation of the parish as a producer of fine athletes.
Born Benjamin Sinclair 'Ben' Johnson on December 30, 1961, who represented Canada, he enjoyed a high-profile career during most of the 1980s, winning two Olympic bronze medals and an Olympic gold, which were subsequently rescinded.
He set consecutive 100 metres world records at the 1987 World Championships in Athletics and the 1988 Summer Olympics, but he was disqualified for doping, losing the Olympic title and both records. Born in Falmouth, Jamaica, Johnson emigrated to Canada in 1976, residing in Scarborough, Ontario.
Trelawny is also the birthplace of 2008 USA Today High School Basketball Player of the Year Samardo Samuels, now playing for the Cleveland Cavaliers.