Ever wonder how Jamaica, a country of 3 million people, can compete with the US and totally dominate all of Europe and Asia when it comes to the sprints? China has spent billions on a Soviet-style sports program that selects promising athletes at a young age and sends them to special sports schools. When Liu Xiang won the 110 hurdles at the last Olympics, Chinese officials referred to his gold as the "heaviest" of all medals won by Chinese in Athens. There is no lack of Chinese desire to win sprint gold -- Liu Xiang is the biggest sports star in China after Yao Ming! Similarly, the US and Europe have far more money than Jamaica for training facilities, coaches, scholarships, stipends, etc. World class athletes in Jamaica train on a grass track and in weight rooms with rusty barbells. Most US high schools have superior facilities. (See video here.)
The times below are phenomenal -- they rival the times put up this weekend in Eugene at the US Olympic trials, and totally surpass the performance of any European or Asian nation.
World record-holder Usain Bolt beat former record-holder Asafa Powell in the 100-meter final in Jamaica's Olympic trials, finishing in 9.85 seconds in Kingston.
Powell was second in 9.97. Last month in New York, Bolt ran a 9.72 to break Powell's world record of 9.74.
Kerron Stewart won the women's 100 in 10.80, the second-fastest time by a Jamaican woman ever. Shelly-Ann Fraster was second in 10.85, Sherone Simpson followed in 10.87 and world champion Veronica Campbell-Brown was fourth in 10.87.