Leighton Levy, Gleaner Writer
Whereas Jamaica's male sprinters were dominant in the sprints during 2012, its women demonstrated greater versatility in Track and Field News Women's Top 10 rankings for the year. In a line-up similar to the positions they finished in the 100 metres at the Olympic Games this past summer, Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce topped the rankings for the blue-ribbon sprint over American Carmelita Jeter and Veronica Campbell-Brown, respectively.
Fraser-Pryce, who had emerged from two very difficult years during which she battled injury and was banned for six months, returned in 2012 to become only the second woman to defend the Olympic 100-metre title in London in 10.75 seconds, one of the fastest times in the world for the year. In fact, only her world-leading 10.70-second run at the Jamaican National Championships in June was faster.
stewart ranked 10th
Jeter, the defending World Champion, finished second in London in 10.78 seconds to end the year as the fastest American woman. Campbell-Brown, who ran well over the 100 metres during the year, and won a bronze medal at the Olympics in a season best 10.81s, rounded out the top three in the rankings that lists Kerron Stewart at number 10.
Americans Tiana Madison and Allyson Felix were fourth and fifth, respectively, with Trinidad's Kelly Ann Baptiste sixth, Nigeria's Blessing Okagbare seventh and the USA's Jeneba Tarmoh, who was embroiled in a controversy with Felix about who really finished third at the USA's championships in the summer, ranked eighth.
Rapidly rising African sprinter Murielle Ahoure was ranked ninth.
Olympic 200-metre champion Felix topped the 200-metre rankings ahead of Fraser-Pryce and Jeter. Campbell-Brown, the two-time Olympic 200-metre champion, finished fourth in the rankings due primarily to her pedestrian times over her pet event which saw her finish out of the medals in London. Sanya Richards-Ross, who competed for the very first time in the 200m at the Olympics this past summer; collegian Kimberlyn Duncan, Tarmoh, Ahoure, Charonda Williams and Bianca Knight make up the remainder of the top 10 in the deuce.
The women's 400 metres saw three Jamaicans being ranked in the top 10. Novelene Williams Mills finished third in the rankings, ahead of Rosemarie Whyte eighth and Shericka Williams 10th. Richards-Ross, the Olympic champion and last year's world champion Amantle Montsho, were one and two, respectively.
Brigitte Foster Hylton, the 2009 world champion was ranked eighth in the 100 metres hurdles behind the number-one ranked Sally Pearson from Australia, and the Americans Dawn Harper (2) and Kellie Wells, respectively.
Kaliese Spencer may not have had much luck at the Olympic Games or at the World Championships last year, but she was the Diamond League champion and, according to the magazine considered the bible of the sport, she is the top-ranked 400-metre hurdler in the world for 2012. She finished ahead of perennial rival Lashinda Demus of the USA, who is ranked second and her teammate and training partner Olympic and World Champion Melaine Walker, whose relatively indifferent form throughout the year saw her finish sixth in the rankings.