Thrice as nice: Record night in Glasgow
André Lowe, Senior Staff Reporter
The conditions were terrible - freezing rain and chilling wind - but the Jamaicans brought the heat, drawing the curtain on the athletics competition at the Commonwealth Games with three gold medals in games-record time - pushing their Glasgow 2014 haul to 21 medals with 19 of those coming in track and field.
No team won more gold medals than Jamaica's 10 in track and field, with the island's tally at Hampden Park, including three silver and six bronze, leaving them just below Kenya (10 gold, 10 silver, three bronze) as the second best team in athletics at this year's Commonwealth Games.
Alia Atkinson's silver and bronze medals in swimming add to the country's overall tally, which so far is bettered only by the 22 medals won in 2006 in Melbourne, Australia. The Jamaicans now boast 10 gold, four silver and seven bronze medals at the multi-event championships, with the Sunshine Girls in with a chance of adding a bronze to the heap in today's third-place netball play-off at the SSE Hydro at 10 a.m. (4 a.m. Jamaica time) against old foes England.
On the track, Usain Bolt was in his element. Some less-than-impressive dance moves at the start, his signature pose during the introductions and countless selfies and autographs, 'Broadway Bolt' was in full flight.
So was Jamaica's men's 4x100m team, with the 'big man' anchoring the quartet including Jason Livermore, Kemar Bailey-Cole and Nickel Ashmeade to a games-record and world-leading 37.58 seconds win over England, 38.02, and Trinidad and Tobago, 38.10.
"It feels good to be Commonwealth Games champion. It was the only gold medal missing from my collection, so for me it feels really good. My team came out here and did well, so I'm happy," said Bolt after the race and his 'show' that followed.
"I always try to interact with everyone and I really enjoyed it. The people have been wonderful and I love it here. It's been good. Other than the weather, I have no problems with Glasgow," he added.
Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce took the baton from Schillonie Calvert in the women's equivalent, turned over her little legs, and extended the lead that Kerron Stewart and Veronica Campbell-Brown had worked up, crossing the line also in games-record and world-leading fashion, with 41.83 seconds flashing on the scoreboard and Nigeria, 42.92, and England, 43.10, following her heels.
"It's a team effort and we have the raw talent and ability to do tremendously well in the relays so running the relays is always a great experience ... . The adrenaline, it's always exciting for me," Fraser-Pryce said.
"We came together and we got the baton exchange right and we all ran well, ended with the gold and the championships record, so it's a real blessing," added Campbell-Brown.
With the three medallists from the 400m in the line-up, it was a matter of Jamaica versus the clock in the women's 4x400m as the Jamaicans demolished the field to win their first Commonwealth Games gold medal in the event and only the country's second at any major international meet after the 2001 World Championships win.
This was also only Jamaica's second medal in the women's 4x400m at the Commonwealth Games after silver in 1994.
Individual gold-medal winner Stephenie McPherson was brought in to replace Shericka Williams on anchor from the previous round, while silver medallist Novlene Williams-Mills came in for young Janieve Russell, as the team, completed by Christine Day (individual bronze-medal winner) and Anastasia Le-Roy set a new games record of 3:23.82.
McPherson posted a strong 50.33-second anchor-leg run after receiving the baton from Le-Roy, slightly behind Nigeria's Folashade Abugan, but outclassed her competitor, who took her team across the line in second place in a time of 3:24.71. England finished third with a time of 3:27.24.
"I'm really excited, more confident and determined to work harder for next year to see if I can end my World Championships with two gold medals as well," said a shivering McPherson, feeling the effects of the rainy, 15-degree chill inside Hampden Park.
"I am very happy, proud and excited."
Williams-Mills was surprised that this was Jamaica's first Commonwealth Games gold medal in the event.
"It's surprising to know that we have never won a 4x400m at the Commonwealth Games, but for us to be the first to do it, it's a real honour," she said.
The men's 4x400m team has not medalled here since 2006, and that continued as the team of Akheem Gauntlett, Edino Steele, Chumaine Fitten and Rusheen McDonald had to settle for fourth with a time of 3:02.17.
The event was won by England in 3:00.46 ahead of Olympic champions The Bahamas, 3:00.51, and Trinidad and Tobago, 3:01.51.
Daniel Lewis, 16.09m, and Damon McLean, 15.38m, finished seventh and 10th in the triple jump final.