JAM (Jamaican) TRACK AND FIELD 2020 OLYMPICS PERSPECTIVE

 

 

 

 

Summer Olympics 2020 is Jul 24 – Aug 9, 2020 in Tokyo, Japan. This is the every four years replay of the Grandfather of Track and Field competition. This is a necessary event, once every four years but on an even (0, 2, 4, 6, 8) number ending year on the calendar. The World Championships is once every four years but on an odd (1, 3, 5, 7, 9) number ending year on the calendar.

Anyone wishing to be documented as an excellent athlete, Male and Female, competing in this event is required. If you own a bag with Track shoes inside, athletic  equipment, and have been hibernating in 2017 and 2018; 2019 is the time to wake up.

With respect to Jamaican Track and Field, I am expecting significant improvement since World Championships 2017, Commonwealth Games 2018, and NACAC Championships 2018. Tongue in cheek, any performance not indicative of maintenance or improvement will raise the Ire of Jamaican Track and Field fans, prompting sentiments of disappointment.

Track and Field is the ultimate excitement in Athletics but the performer must be in shape. Let us look at how athletes on a watch list are performing and positioning for the event.

FEMALE: Natoya Goule, Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce, Remona Burchell, Gayon Evans, Elaine Thompson, Tovea Jenkins, Stephanie-Ann McPherson, Aisha Praught – Leer, Rushell Burton, Jeanine Williams, Shanieka Rickets, Kimberly Williams, Danniel Thomas-Dodd, Tiffany James, and Anastasia Leroy.

Natoya Goule is a star. I anticipate improvement and a good performance in the 800 Meters. The competition will be fierce but she has the ability to earn a medal. It is refreshing to see an athlete step away and establish a new frontier.

Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce is a Vanguard of Jamaican Female Track and Field. I wish her well in 2020. I thought she would retire after Olympics 2016. Obviously, she missed the stage. Her early performances look good but I think the results of Olympics 2016 said a lot. We all hoped she was victorious in the 2016 Olympics by winning the Women’s 100M a third consecutive time but that did not happen.

Remona Burchell has potential that could surface in Olympics 2020. Based on her accolades I expect competitive performance. Her challenge is can she run faster than 11.03 seconds for the 100M.

Gayon Evans has potential specifically in the 200M. Perhaps she should focus on that event. 23.18 seconds is a good time. If she can run faster than 23.0, she will be a contender.

Elaine Thompson has proven that she is excellent athlete. She will always be a force to reckon with as long as she is in good health. Her performance in Rio 2016 was exceptional. She is one of the few Female athletes who can run the 100M with regularity, in less than 11.00 seconds. She has also proven that she can run the 200M in less than 22.00 seconds. Overall, I expect her to perform well in Olympics 2020. No athlete is winning the Women’s 100M in 2020 unless she runs the distance in less than 11.0 seconds.

Tovea Jenkins while I have not seen or heard much about her recently, this is perhaps her final chance to prove herself as a competitor in the 400M.

Stephanie-Ann McPherson is still near the top of the 400M runners list. This might be her final quest for Olympic stardom.

Aisha Praught-Leer should improve on her 2018 Commonwealth Games accomplishments. I expect strong performances in all or whichever event she decides to run.

Rushell Burton will continue to improve in 100M Hurdles. I expect her to be competitive.

Jeanine Williams will be a force to reckon with in the hurdles. She should focus on that event. The 100 meter will be a challenge. There is a possibility she might earn a spot on the 4×100 meter relay team. She is the epitome of a Student Athlete.

Shanieka Rickets should do well in the Triple Jump. I expect improvement since the North American, Central American, and Caribbean Championships.

 Kimberly Williams is an excellent Triple Jump athlete. However, the Olympics and World Championships have not seen her best performances. Perhaps, 2020 will be the year. The fans certainly hope so.

Danniel Thomas-Dodd is ready to take her performance to another level. I expect improvement since 2018 Commonwealth Games. The competition will be fierce but I think she can win.

Tiffany James should be ready to step away from the shadows of relay competition. It would be interesting to see if she can handle performing as an individual in the 400M. Performance at the junior level is recognized but the Olympics stage is more challenging.

Anastasia Leroy has exhibited solid performances and has additional potential that should be realized in Olympics 2020. For Anastasia the time is now and I anticipate a strong performance.

MALE: Yohan Blake, Everton Clarke, Kimmari Roach, Omar McLeod, Javon Francis, Steven Gayle, Ronald Levy, Demar Forbes, Clive Pullen, O’Dayne Richards, Andre Clarke, Jermaine Gayle, Peter Matthews, and Rusheen McDonald.

Yohan Blake did not have a good outing in the 2018 Commonwealth Games. Olympics 2020 is definitely time for Yohan Blake to perform at his best in the 100M and 200M. The stage is set for Yohan to have solid performances. There is only so much continuous running in the legs of a Professional sprinter. At some point between Training and competing, the body gets tired even if the brain does not. Yohan Blake might be approaching that point. I think he participates in the 2020 Olympics and then retire. Suffice to say, no athlete is winning the Men’s 100M in 2020 unless he runs the distance in less than 10.0 seconds.

Everton Clarke with a Personal Best of 10.08 for the 100M and 20.45 for the 200M should see Olympics 2020 as a venue to achieve. I hope he makes the Team. His Men’s 4 × 100 meters relay participation in the 2018 Commonwealth Games was strong. Olympics 2020 will make or break the career of many athletes. That is true for both Male and Female. Everton Clarke is one of those athletes. Heads up the Africans are getting better.

Kimmari Roach with a Personal Best of 10.12 for the 100M showed promise in 2014. Since then I have not seen much. If he is still active, now is the time for him to stand and be counted.

Omar McLeod continues to impress. His performances have created renewed interest in the 110M Hurdles. The 110M Hurdles is an event in which Jamaican Athletes can excel. Until Omar is defeated at the Olympics, he owns that event. He was the first from Jamaica to win the event on that stage but he knows there will be others. For now, let him enjoy the fame and fortune. It is time to get ready for Olympics 2020. I am 100 percent behind him and support his consideration of the 400M Hurdles.

Javon Francis appears to be staying in shape. Staying in shape will prevent a repeat of this kind of performance. Will 2020 be the year he talks to the man in the mirror? Will 2020 be the year he rebounds?

Steven Gayle showed promise in 2017 but in 2018, he appeared to falter. Perhaps, there was something lacking in his training regiment. I hope the matter is resolved and he will return rejuvenated.

Ronald Levy is an Athlete with the best potential to challenge Omar McLeod. He has excellent technique and speed. At age 27, he is at his prime for the 110M Hurdles. The 2020 Olympics, is definitely the year for him to demonstrate he is a superior athlete in that event.

Demar Forbes if still active should be competitive in the Long Jump. The 2020 Olympics, is definitely the year for him to demonstrate his capability in that event.

Clive Pullen if still active should be competitive in the Triple Jump (Hop Skip and Jump).

O’Dayne Richards should be competitive in the shot put and discus throw. Even at age 32, he should be able to give a good account of himself in both events. Along with Fedrick Dacres and Traves Smikle, the Men’s Field events squad should Medal at Olympics 2020.

Andre Clarke if still active should be competitive in the 400M Hurdles. Regardless of any performances I have not seen, this event is up for grabs at Olympics 2020. Anyone from anywhere can win.

Jermaine Gayle still has time to come in from the cold. Excellent performance in the 400M event will require men who will consistently run between 43.01 and 44.5 and women who will consistently run between 48.0 and 49.4. This is a serious challenge. The 400M race is the most exhausting of the sprints. Accumulation of Lactic Acid affects performance on the Track.

Peter Matthews if still active should be competitive in the 400M sprint. Regardless of any performances I have not seen, if he improves on his Personal Best of 44.69 he is heading in the right direction.

Rusheen McDonald if still active should be competitive in the 400M sprint. Regardless of any performances I have not seen, if he improves on his Personal Best of 43.93 he should make the Team.

Team Jamaica grade by Event and expectations at Olympics 2020:

Men:

Event     Analysis                                        Grade

100 M – Need Improvement –                       C

200 M – Need Improvement –                       C

400 M – Need Improvement –                       C

800 M – Need much Improvement –             D

1500 M– Need much Improvement –            D

Long Jump – Need Improvement –                B

Triple Jump – Need much Improvement –   D

High Jump – Need much Improvement –      F

Hurdles 110 M – Excellent –                             A+

Hurdles 400 M – Excellent –                              A

Discus – Excellent –                                             A+

Shot Put – Good –                                                  B

Javelin – Need much Improvement –               F

4 × 100 meters relay – Need Improvement –   C

4 × 400 meters relay – Need Improvement –   C

Team Jamaica grade by Event and expectations at Olympics 2020:

Women:

Event     Analysis                                            Grade

100 M – Need Improvement –                           C

200 M – Need Improvement –                           C

400 M – Need Improvement –                           B

800 M – Excellent –                                               A

1500 M – Need much Improvement –               D

Long Jump – Need Improvement –                    B

Triple Jump – Excellent –                                     A+

High Jump – Need much Improvement –         F

Hurdles 100 M – Excellent –                                A+

Hurdles 400 M – Excellent –                                A

Discus – Need much Improvement –                 D

Shot Put – Need much Improvement –              D

Javelin – Need much Improvement –                 F

4 × 100 meters relay – Excellent –                        A+

4 × 400 meters relay – Excellent –                        A+

Team Jamaica is looking good leading up to Olympics 2020. However, there is much work to be done. Women are doing better than Men. Field events have new Life. Team Jamaica Track and Field landscape is poised for a changing of the Guard, if not before Olympics 2020, certainly immediately after.

TOKYO 2020-2 LOGO

 

LFT

FINALLY RECOGNITION – OF WHAT COLLEGE FOOTBALL NEEDED

COLLEGE FOOTBALL

It appears that the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) has realized the folly and is implementing the correct process to arrive at a legitimate champion of College Football. In an article, I wrote in 2010 and inserted below, I berated the NCAA for not exhibiting the ingenuity to create a constructive Play off System for College Football.

A system that would eliminate multiple teams debating and profiling they are # 1. One that would have the highest Ranking teams each year, play for the Championship on the field, inclusive of an elimination process. From all accounts, the NCAA is implementing the correct process to arrive at a legitimate champion of College Football or close to it. See the article below.

Ignore College Football Bowl Games

Added: Saturday, December 11th 2010 at 2:22pm by Leon Thompson

Category: Sports & Recreation

Related Tags: college football, sporting events

It is time to stop the charade and unparalleled lunacy. If need be then congress should step forward and demand that this farce cease and desist. Congress has no disclaimer. They have already interceded in professional Base Ball and I would suspect that if necessary, would intervene in other sports.

The continuation of this senseless annual trivial parade of Bowl games, at the end of which some college football team is declared as champion by a group of old men and a computer, followed by the insignificant index finger pointing by the players is an insult to the intelligence of sports fans. In fact, it is an insult to the Intelligence and Athleticism that these institutions of higher learning are expected to provide.

Bowl games in college football at the end of which some team is declared the fictitious champion is an insult to the intelligence presumed to exist in the halls of our institutions of higher learning. The fictitious determination of a champion in college football constitutes a mockery of the History of Athleticism. It does not matter what the team looks like on paper or what the computer thinks, or the manipulated results generated from some workstation.

The championship game should be played on the field. How many times have you seen a basketball team play a game yesterday and based on talent should beat the squad they are about to play but they lose, even if by one point. How many times have you heard that a computer predicts one athlete would beat the other in the 100 meter dash and the reverse happens? Right more times than not. The championship game should be played on the field.

Now is the time to ignore the Bowl Games on television. If no one watch the games sponsors will know from the ratings. If the ratings fall, the sponsors will challenge the Bowl Championship Series (BCS). If the BCS refuse to comply then the sponsors will pull their advertisement. The Television station will not show the games and BCS will not make money. You have to hit the pocket book.

Now is the time to develop a Play-off system using the four (4) major or traditional Bowl Games. My choice is use the Rose, Orange, Sugar, and Cotton Bowls. That would mean you add about two weeks to the season or reduce regular season by one week and add an extra week, or reduce the regular season by two weeks to accommodate playing the championship game on the field.

However it is determined to incorporate those two weeks, we have a week for the pairing of the four bowl winners, and a week to match up the two undefeated teams. Sure, keep the other bowls if you wish but put the eight best teams in the Rose, Orange, Sugar, and Cotton Bowls.

Now I know many will say the students have to get back to classes. I say what classes. We all know that most Football players do not give a flip about classes. There is no college athlete or Football player who would pass on an opportunity to settle the championship matter on the field. It is time to stop the charade and unparalleled lunacy. The championship game should be played on the field. Now is the time to ignore the Bowl Games on television unless the BCS develop this kind of Play-off system.

LFT

NCAA FLAGS

 

TAKE AWAY FROM COMMONWEALTH GAMES 2018 – AUSTRALIA

Gold-silver-Discus-640x353

It seems to me, that Jamaicans should be proud of the performance. The team placed 11TH out of 43 teams with 27 Medals in total – 7 Gold, 9 Silver, and 11 Bronze. See the Final performance results. Not too shabby for an Island Nation.

Previously I said, “I am expecting improvement in the Field events such as Long Jump, Triple Jump (Hop, Skip, and Jump), Javelin, Discus, Shot Put, Hammer throw, and High Jump.” Oops, it happened.

Fedrick Dacres and Traves Smikle won gold and silver respectively for Jamaica in the men’s discus. Kimberly Williams won gold in the Triple Jump. Shanieka Ricketts won silver in the Triple Jump. Danniel Thomas-Dodd won gold in the Women’s Shot Put. Aisha Praught-Leer won gold in Women’s 3000 meters steeplechase. Alia Atkinson won silver in the 50 meters breaststroke. The Net Ball team won Bronze.

Clearly significant improvement in Field events, since World Championship 2017. I am impressed with the wealth of Talent on the Female side of the Jamaican Track and Field Ledger. Perhaps, that will get the Male athletes to step up. Very soon, I expect the Men to step forward with stellar performance in Field events.

The Hurdles event has caught on. Ronald Levy won gold in the 110M hurdles. Janieve Russell won gold in the 400M hurdles. Hansle Parchment won silver in the 110M hurdles. Danielle Williams won silver in the Women’s 100 meters hurdles. Jaheel Hyde won bronze in the Men’s 400 meters hurdles. Yanique Thompson won bronze in the Women’s 100 meters hurdles. My expectation is that it will require less effort to improve the performance in Hurdling than it will for additional improvement in Field events. I am wondering who will start throwing the Javelin – someone, anyone, Male or Female. It is a unisex sport.

Shericka Jackson continues to shine and won silver in the Women’s 200 meters. Anastasia Le-Roy won silver in the Women’s 400 meters. Christania Williams won silver in the Women’s 100 meters. Gayon Evans won bronze in the Women’s 100 meters. Javon Francis won bronze in the Men’s 400 meters. Natoya Goule won bronze in the Women’s 800 meters. Natoya Goule is someone to keep an eye on moving forward. Yohan Blake won bronze in the Men’s 100 meters. Women’s 4 × 100 meters relay quartet won silver. Men’s 4 × 100 meters relay won bronze. Men’s 4 × 400 meters relay won bronze. Women’s 4 × 400 meters relay won gold.

That Yohan Blake won bronze in the Men’s 100 meters and Elaine Thompson did not have a good outing by her standards, is cause for concern. There is only so much continuous running in the legs of a Professional sprinter. Yohan Blake might be approaching that point. I think he participates in the 2020 Olympics and then retire. It might be a good idea for Elaine Thompson to switch camp and work with Glen Mills.

The people responsible for training the Women’s 4 × 400 meters relay team is doing a great job. Over the years that quartet, mix or match, has been competitive or dominant. Perhaps, they should be commissioned to recruit Male athletes to run the 400M exclusively. The 400M race needs new stars. Until there is discovery, nurturing, and development of at least three (3) consistent 400M sprinters, lack of significant representation in the Men’s 400M race will be obvious. Excellent performance in the 400M event will require men who will consistently run between 43.01 and 44.5 and women who will consistently run between 48.0 and 49.4. This is a serious challenge. The 400M race is the most exhausting of the sprints.

Having said the above, what are my expectations for the Olympics in 2020? I have none now. It is too early to speculate. I am confident they will take home some Hardware from Olympics 2020.The results from Commonwealth Games 2018 are impressive. Congrats to the entire team!!!

Performance in the Diamond League will determine Olympic 2020 readiness. I think there will be a changing of the Guard in the Sprint events. There is unlikely to be replacements for Usain and Shelly-Ann by 2020. If you considered Usain – Yohan and Elaine- Shelly-Ann One-Two punches, until proven otherwise I have not seen that male or female athlete. I have not seen another Male athlete capable of running sub 10.0 seconds or a Female athlete capable of running sub 11.0 seconds for the 100M. Yohan Blake and Elaine Thompson have demonstrated they can. However, based on recent performances, they are required to prove they still can.

Warning: no one is winning the Men’s 100M in 2020 unless he runs sub 10.0 seconds. No one is winning the Women’s 100M in 2020 unless she runs sub 11.0 seconds. You can put that in the Retirement Fund.

LFT

JAMAICANFLAG WAVING

TAKE AWAY FROM WORLD CHAMPIONSHIPS 2017

NATHON ALLEN ALTDEMISH GAYE

Greetings Athletic comrades and Track and field Junkies. There were some massive Takeaways from World Championships 2017. Someone opened the hatch, out came Jamaican 400 M runners, and ran they did. Congrats to Nathon Allen, Demish Gaye, and Steven Gayle.

Nathon Allen emerged as the class of the current Jamaican 400 M pool of athletes. Running 44.19 is an awesome start. Demish Gaye is in the room and conversation. 44.55 is respectable time for the 400 M. Both athletes have some work to do but they are capable. The way forward is clear. If both can reduce their times to be between 43.5 and 43.9 seconds, they will be in the discussion for medal in Olympics 2020. I think they will and that will change the narrative of the conspicuously absent Jamaicans in the 400 M finals in the Olympics. This is good stuff Track and Field fans. Herb McKenley and Arthur Wint are proud but they are also saying keep going, you have more in the tank, get ready for 2020.

Omar McLeod continues to impress. His performances have created renewed interest in the 110 M Hurdles. It is an event in which I felt the Jamaican Athlete should excel. Until Omar is beaten at the Olympics, he owns that event. He was the first from Jamaica to win the event on that stage but he knows there will be others. For now, let him enjoy the fame and fortune. I am 100 percent behind him and support his consideration of the 400 M Hurdles. However, I do want to caution him.

The 400 M Hurdles is just as challenging as the 400 M sprint and maybe more. I do not believe Omar is inclined to be a 400 M sprinter. Therefore, he may be competitive but not unbeatable. One may need more stamina to do the 400 M Hurdles at the Olympics than is required for the 400 M sprint. Running is one thing but running and jumping is another thing entirely.

People who may not share my opinion are spectators. Most of them have never run in a 400 M. The 400 M Hurdles at the Olympics level is for those who have experience competing in the 400 M but not fast enough on the flat to medal. Regardless, I am looking forward to some exciting performances from Omar.

In Track and Field competition, there is a difference between not winning and losing. The result of the Men 100 M finals at World Championships 2017 in London is best characterized as Bolt not winning. Those of us, who have participated or follow the Sport, know the difference between not winning and losing. Losing means you were trounced. Not winning means you were on the bubble but could not burst. The Legend tried after stumbling out of the blocks and never found the over-drive.

It is true that the Legend was slowing down or more importantly his Top End speed was not what it use to be but the same is true for Gatlin. Usain did not win because of two reasons. First, he forgot that start matters. Second, he did not remember Gatlin was in the race. Note I did not say he forgot, I said he did not remember.

Usain Bolt dug himself a hole of about three strides out of the blocks to Coleman and then he became fixated on catching him. As a result, he did not remember that Gatlin was in the race. Gatlin was never a thought and certainly not a focus. As they say in boxing, the punch that knocks the boxer out is the one he does not see coming. In the 100 M finals, you cannot forget about that competitor to your far right. That competitor could be the punch you did not see. Such was the case in that race. Gatlin benefited from being in Lane 8.

Twenty Meters (20 M) into the race the only person that mattered to Usain Bolt was Coleman. The Legend thought that if he had any chance of winning, Coleman was the man to beat. That was still the case Eighty Meters (80 M) into the race. Eighty Meters (80 M) into the race, Gatlin may have been of interest but certainly not of influence. Bolt never looked in the direction of Lane 8 because he had no time. Lane 8 or who was in it, was not a factor in the Legend’s mind. I do not believe Gatlin ever appeared in Usain’s peripheral vision. I think Gatlin realized and his victory is what is called, a late-run. Gatlin’s win, can be characterized as benefiting from Athletic indifference.

Gatlin won but he will not be competing in Japan in 2020. Neither will Coleman. 9.9 seconds will not medal in Japan in 2020. If Coleman is considering competing in Olympics 2020, he will have to get faster and develop a better Top End speed. Coleman will be vulnerable to existing and emerging talent like Sani Brown, Aska Cambridge, and Andre De Grasse. Coleman has zero chance of winning the 200 M on this stage. My pick for a 100 M medal in Japan in 2020 is still Aska Cambridge. He should seek out Glen Mills and upgrade his training.

Elaine Thompson stumbled out of the blocks and as such had a minor slip in her career. It does not appear to be something to be concerned about, unless it is ankle or shoe related. Jamaican sprinters have been complaining about the blocks at this World Championship almost to the point where perhaps there should be an investigation. I hope it is not any sinister conduct. However, it might be something for the coaches to monitor and if it continues to request examination and comparison of starting Blocks.

Having raised the ire, I expect exceptional performances from Elaine Thompson going forward and encourage her to psyche herself for a break out time of about 10.65 for the 100 M at the next high-level competition. I am concerned about her non-participation in the 200 M at this World Championship. I do not believe that I have heard a believable explanation to date. Elaine’s non-participation in the 200 M concerns me.

I am very close to the point of saying perhaps she needs a coaching change. She might also be experiencing burn out and could use a vacation. Not a vacation from staying in shape but away from the grind of competing. Those of us who have some experience with the sport will be paying close attention to Elaine, as we get closer to 2020, assuming there will be a Korean Peninsula.

LFT

ELAINE THOMPSON