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The amazing success of the Jamaican sprint team in Beijing came as a surprise to some observers. A country with a population of 2.7 million people won 11 medals: six gold, three silver and two bronze. As well as Usain Bolt's men's sprint double, he was part of the team to win the 4x100m relay, while Shelley- Ann Fraser led a 1- 2- 3 in the women's 100m and Veronica Campbell- Brown struck gold in the 200m. The question on everyone's lips inside and outside the Bird's Nest was: What's the secret to Jamaica's success? How did they do it? As a broadcast journalist, covering the Games for Television Jamaica ( TVJ), colleagues from far and wide posed it to me. I conducted more than 50 interviews, from the BBC to Al Jazeera to the South African Broadcasting Corporation. So let me try and help you understand the success of Jamaica at the Beijing Games. Firstly, I have to disappoint you by revealing that there is no secret. There is no genie in a bottle. " It's not in the food we eat," chuckles Cathy Rattray- Williams, a four- time Jamaican Olympian, who is now Principal of the St. Hugh's Preparatory School and a resident Track and Field analyst with Television Jamaica. " It's our natural talent and that's half of the battle. The rest of it is training," she continues, adding: " I am sure they'll ( athletes) tell you a lot of hard work has gone into it and their own self belief in doing well." Jamaica's success is rooted in its athletics system. Four and five- year olds compete in the National Championships at the sporting shrine of Jamaica, the National Stadium, built to host the 1966 Commonwealth Games. This carries on to the biggest Youth Track and Field Championships anywhere in the world, the Annual Boys' and Girls' Track & Field Championships held over four days around Easter each year. When the potential of four and five- year- olds through to 18- year- olds are harnessed and developed, it creates a self replenishing cadre of talent. " We learn to run fast, not far," says Earl Bailey, editor of Jamaicawin. com, and also resident track and field analyst with Television Jamaica. " There is the history of Jamaica's Donald Quarrie, who won the men's 200m gold in 1976 and the silver in the 100m and we could go back to Herb McKenley in 1948 and 1952, for history and tradition. It's more than 60 years. It's not an overnight success." " And now with Usain Bolt, Asafa Powell, Veronica Campbell- Brown and Shelley- Ann Fraser, today's kids have real life examples and heroes they can reach out to and touch, so the sprinting culture will be reinforced," Bailey adds. " Luckily, they are still young. They have at least one more Olympic Games and some two to go. They still are improving and in 2012, good quality athletes are coming behind the present ( Beijing) group to fill the breach." These names should be written down, so their success later on is not viewed as " sudden". Dexter Lee, the world junior 100 metre champion in Poland this past summer; Yohan Blake who was third in that event; Ramone McKenzie, the world youth 200 metre champion; Nickel Ashmeade who was 2nd in the 200 metres at the world juniors in Poland this past summer; and among the girls, Jura Levy, Schillonie Calvert and Carrie Russell are some to watch out for. So, it's not a secret. It's not the food they eat. It's hard work and tradition. McKenley was the pioneer of Jamaican sprinting, in the years after World War Two. He went on to set world records for his pet event, the 400 metres. At the London Olympic Games in 1948, he was favourite but lost to another Jamaican, Arthur Wint, in the final. He returned in 1952 in Helsinki, again the favourite for the 400 metres. He was again beaten by another Jamaican, George Rhoden, for gold. McKenley finished fourth in the 200 metre final and was second in the 100 metre final, touched off by American Lindy Remigino in what is still the longest photo finish decision in Olympic history. But McKenley gained redemption by winning gold in the 4x400m relay, running the third leg in a sub 44 second time, 56 years ago. Jamaican sprinters have long been some of the very best in the world! By Patrick Anderson 66OLYMPIC REVIEW EXCELLENCE JAMAICA'S SPRINT SUCCESS AboveJamaica dominated the sprint events in both the men and women's competition in the Bird's Nest

OLYMPIC REVIEW67 EXCELLENCE How did you get into athletics? I loved cricket when I was younger and my coach saw I had some speed when I was bowling so he got me to try a little running on sports day. Which race gave you the most pleasure in Beijing? The 200m really topped my Beijing experience. I've always said that the 200m is my favourite event. I've run the 400m and the 100m but the only reason I run the 100m is because I don't want to run the 400m! So from day one the dream was to become the Olympic champion over 200m. I have to work on a different goal but I've not made up my mind what I want to do next. So you might change your mind and run the 400m? No ( emphatically and laughs), and not anytime soon – the training for the 400m is very intense from what I have seen. Did you expect to win three golds and set three world records in Beijing? World records weren't even on my mind. My main aim was just to be the double gold medallist. That was my main aim going there, because I trained hard for the rounds and because I did a lot of background training for the rounds. That's the most important thing. You have to get the strength because it is going to be a lot of work, so I did a lot of training on that. And I went there just to be the double gold medallist, so the world records and the 4x100m were just the bonus. Why did you run through the 200m but you didn't run through the 100m? The 200m is closer to my heart. And after the 100m and I saw what I did when I broke the world record, and I actually slowed down after 80 metres or so, I said to myself, If I am going to get this 200m record it's going to be in Beijing. And I said to my room- mate ( decathlete Maurice Smith, who was also the team captain), " Maurice, if I'm going to get that world record it's going to be here, andI am going out there to leave everything on the track." I went out there and I left everything on the track. I was so happy, it was overwhelming. Michael Johnson said he expected you to break the 200m record but not in Beijing. Did you speak to him about it? He congratulated me but I was in a rush to catch a flight so we didn't get any time to talk about it. But he congratulated me on a job well done. The team went for the record in the 4x100m though? Yes, definitely. I asked the guys if I was going to run the third leg and they said don't worry man, we have your back. To beat 9: 69 secs or 19: 30 secs, which is tougher? The 19: 30 may be a problem ( chuckles). I definitely think the 100m record will keep being broken over a period of time, because Asafa ( Powell) had a bad start to the season yet by the end he was running 9.72 secs and Tyson Gay will come back better than ever so it ( 9: 69 secs) will go. You ran 19: 30 after seven races. Do you think if you were fresh you could have done even better? Yes, probably. I think so, you know. Because I think the 100m really helped me realise that it was possible to run the world record in the 200m. And I decided after the 100m I would go for it because the track in Beijing was wonderful. What's the word to the youngsters who want to be like you? First I'd like to say to them that success doesn't come overnight. Because yes, I was the world junior champion, and then I broke the world junior record, but I got injured after that. And for three years, from 2003 to 2006, I was up and down with injuries so it takes time to become a champion. And I'd like to tell them it takes time and they need to work hard and they should be dedicated for what they want. Because over the years I've been lazy, but I've learned during those years it's important to work hard for what you want. They must stay focused and just work hard because one day it will pay off. USAINBOLT OLYMPIC100M, 200M, 4X100M GOLDMEDALLIST RightUsain Bolt enjoyed a remarkable week's work in the Bird's Nest