The success of Arthur Wint and later by the members of the Olympic gold medal 4 x 400m relay team of Mc Kinley, Rhoden, Laing and Wint served to give the Jamaican athletes in the sport of athletics the sort of impetus needed to create a name for themselves on the world stage.
Admittedly the largest of the English-speaking Caribbean countries and therefore with a much larger population from which to draw upon for athletic talent, Jamaica has nonetheless systematically developed a culture of athletics that is today present only in the Bahamas and Grenada among the Caribbean countries.
Through the years and long before the World Championships in Athletics were introduced, the Jamaican athletes showed their prowess in athletics at the Olympic, Central American and Caribbean, Commonwealth and Pan American Games, all quadrennial events.
When the World Championships came on stream it was the Jamaicans who showed the way among the Eglish-speaking Caribbean nations. In the entire Central American and Caribbean region only Cuba, with a longer athletics legacy, has been able to outshine the Jamaicans and the gap has closed considerably to the extent that the Jamaicans have now forged ahead of their Spanish-speaking rivals.
Jamaica has produced world record holders with great proficiency both among the women and men.
The region has often been held aloft by the consistent achievements of the Jamaican athletes at every level of international competition.
The Jamaican Programme
The success of the Jamaicans in athletics is no mystery.
Given the early performances of the athletes mentioned above, the schools in Jamaica developed a very comprehensive physical education and sports programme alongside the academics.
The Jamaican institutions have also facilitated a rather intense rivalry among the schools for medal achievements and overall athletics bragging rights.
The anxiety to register top performances and to appease the ever-eager alumni has meant that many a Jamaican school finds tremendous support in the acquisition of athletics equipment and training and competition gear from past students as much as they are provided with academic materials.