Victories, records, comebacks and crashes — the 2020 Summer Olympics has been a mixture of thrilling moments, which made us reach for our pot covers and scream, and moments where we’ve all had to shed a few tears along with our valiant athletes.
The Tokyo Olympics are over, but for Jamaicans, the past two weeks have been a period of pure patriotism and national pride.
Here are our favourite moments from the Tokyo Olympics:
Clean Sweep for the Women’s 100 metres: Yes, Jamaicans had prayed for it. Some had even predicted it. But the nation was still awe-struck as we watched not one, not two but all three medals for the women’s 100m event get snatched up after Elaine Thompson-Herah ran an Olympic and national record of 10.61 seconds to lead the 1-2-3 victory ahead of teammates Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce and Shericka Jackson.
Elaine’s ‘double double’ legacy: Elaine Thompson-Herah’s stunning performance in both the women’s 100 – and 200-metre final events to defend her titles and secure her legacy as one of the greatest female sprinters and the first woman to defend her Olympic sprint double title, was, simply put, ‘out of this world’.
Magical 4x100m Women’s Relay: The last time the Jamaican team struck gold in the women’s 4x100m Olympic relay was 17 years ago in Athens 2004. But with the 2020 Tokyo Olympics line up — a team of the three medallists from the women’s 100m race, along with Under-20 sprint double champion, Briana Williams — the gold was nothing short of a promise to the nation as it celebrated its 59th year of Independence.
Lionhearted Champion Tajay Gayle: He might not have achieved a medal but he surely won gold in our hearts. Jamaicans were heartbroken to watch long jump world champion, Tajay Gayle, limp out of the pit on his second attempt at qualifying for the event’s final, but his later lionhearted performance — jumping 8.14m with a heavily strapped knee — left us overcome with pride.
Megan Tapper’s Moment for Life: The contagious joy expressed by Megan Tapper who claimed bronze in the women’s 100m hurdles warmed the hearts of Jamaicans across the globe, and it only got better when the hurdle sprinter broke out into song, rapping her version of Nicki Minaj’s ‘Moment for Life’.
MVP Shericka Jackson: It may not be an official title but with how much of a team player Shericka really is, she’s our most valuable player. Shericka had a spirited start at the Tokyo Olympics as she claimed bronze in the women’s 100m final, however, a disappointing moment of misjudgement caused her to miss out on the 200m finals.
But in true warrior spirit, Shericka returned to the track for two more events — to anchor her team to win the women’s 4x100m relay and to run the third leg in the 4x400m relay to win the bronze medal, after Stephenie-Ann McPherson suffered an injury and could no longer compete.
Hurdle Champs Hansle Parchment and Ronald Levy: Watching Hansle Parchment take gold in the 110m hurdles while Ronald Levy claimed bronze may have been an upset to others who predicted favourite Grant Holloway for the win, but for Jamaicans it was a moment of pure bliss. And what made the moment even better was the beautiful story about the volunteer who helped Parchment get to the race on time after he took the wrong bus and the heart warming congratulations from the previous 100m hurdles gold medallist, Omar McLeod, who missed out on the Games after suffering misfortune at the national trials.
Superstar Sprinter Shelly: It was a bittersweet feeling to watch Jamaican sweetheart Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce in her events at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics. And while she might not have reclaimed the titles she wanted, the second fastest woman alive leaves the Games with a silver medal in the women’s 100m and gold in the women’s 4x100m relay, making her one of the most decorated female sprinters of all time.
Hyde’s Heartbreaking Hurdle Hit: During the men’s 400 metre hurdles event, Jaheel Hyde was well placed to advance to the final, leading his race coming off the curve, when he unfortunately hit the eighth hurdle and crashed to the track. Instead of ending his race there, in true Jamaican form, Hyde got up and jogged to the finish line.
Danusia Francis’ Golden Smile: Just two days before her competition, Jamaica’s artistic gymnast, Danusia Francis received news she had torn her anterior cruciate ligament in her left knee and had to withdraw from most events. But determined to become an Olympian, Danusia competed in the uneven bars event where she mounted the lower of the bars, with a bandaged left knee and the biggest, brightest smile, and executed two toe-ons before gently dismounting. An Olympian indeed.