Editor - Sport
its great northern neighbour, the United States, are inextricably
linked by sport.
like there's an invisible umbilical cord running between the continent
and the Caribbean island. One which nurtures the incredible and
innate sporting talent Jamaicans possess.
there are benefits for the US and, in particular, its colleges which
harness the talent for inter-collegiate sports and nowhere is this
more apparent than in track and field.
:Deon Hemming of Jamaica (centre) winning gold in the 400m hurdles
at the 1996 Atlanta Olympics. Americans Kim Batten (left) and
Tonja Buford-Bailey took the silver and bronze medals.
recent rise of the Reggae Boyz, track and field remains Jamaica's
sport calling card and from the legendary Herb McKenley through
to Donald Quarrie, Bertland Cameron, Merlene Ottey, Juliet Cuthbert,
Grace Jackson, Deon Hemmings, James Beckford, Lorraine Fenton and
Gregory Haughton, they have all refined their skills in the States.
The great Arthur
Wint is an exception, but an extremely rare one at that as virtually
every Jamaican runner or jumper to have reached the top-class level
has passed through the American finishing school.
Then, of course,
there are those with Jamaican ties who have represented the US,
including Suziann Reid, Sandra Farmer-Patrick and Jerome Young to
name a few members of a small but significant band.
not just on the running tracks that Jamaicans have made a mark in
On the football
fields, baseball diamonds and at the racetracks, basketball courts
and swimming pools, Jamaicans have also excelled.
The still relatively
new Major League Soccer competition features more than half a dozen
Jamaicans including national representatives Onandi Lowe (Kansas
City Wizards), Andy Williams, Wolde Harris (New England Revolution),
Tyrone Marshall (Miami Fusion) and Chris Dawes (Colorado Rapids).
is one of the premier trainers at Calder in Miami and had an entrant
in the Belmont Stakes - the final leg of the Triple Crown - last
year (Tahkodha Hills).
Sukie has also carved out a successful career at Calder while fellow
whip wielder Shaun Bridgmohan is plying his trade at Belmont, New
Atkinson has made a literal and proverbial splash with her feats
in the pool at the collegiate and Olympic levels over the freestyle
distances of 400m and 800m.
who left Jamaica in his early teens, has emerged as one of basketball's
all-time great centres. He starred at the University of Georgetown
before embarking on a long career with the New York Knicks which,
unfortunately for the big man, was not capped with a championship
Robinson also reached hoops' highest level with the Portland Trailblazers.
a sport as foreign to Jamaicans as cricket is to Americans but there
too Jamaicans have surfaced. Devon White and Chili Davis have had
long, successful Major League careers and both have World Series
rings to prove it, the former with the Toronto Blue Jays and the
latter with the New York Yankees.
be a fringe sport 'Up There' but they do have a national team and
the captain is Richard Staple - a Jamaican.
for the defining sporting link between Jamaica and the US you need
look no further than the Miller family.
son of this island, won sprint medals at the 1968 (100m silver)
and 1972 Olympic Games (100m bronze) before emigrating to the US.
There he fathered a daughter, Inger, who has carried on the family
legacy by representing her country at the Olympics and World Championships.
At the 1999 World Champs she won the 200m gold.
She runs for
the 'enemy' but she's still Lennox's daughter in Jamaican eyes.
There will be
many more Miller-type stories in the coming years as America's Jamaican
population continues to grow. Sons and daughters of Jamaicans running,
jumping, riding, swimming, kicking to the tune of the 'Star Spangled
Banner' but they'll probably hear in the background 'Jamaica Land
We Love' for there is a bond, a cord, that can't be severed.