Caribbean Players Doing Great in the Olympics

Among the many fine Caribbean athletes competing in the 2012 London Olympics. A few of the main protagonists in the past few days are: Yarisley Silva (Cuba), Félix Sánchez and Luguelin Santos (both from the Dominican Republic), Javier Culson (Puerto Rico), Kirani James (Grenada), Lalonde Gordon (Trinidad), Veronica Campbell-Brown and Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce (both from Jamaica).

Today Cuba’s Yarisley Silva, edging in front of two-time defending Olympic champion Yelena Isinbayeva, who was the hands-down favorite to win the event, won the silver medal. U.S.’s Jenn Suhr, however, took the gold.

In the men’s 400m hurdles, 2004 gold medalist Felix Sanchez won the event with a time of 47.63 after a miraculous last-second surge. USA’s Michael Tinsley won the silver with a time of 47.91 and Puerto Rico’s Javier Culson, who was the favorite to win, took home the bronze. The result was a shock as Culson won the most competitive qualifying heat before the event, and then posted an even better time in the semis. [See previous post Dominican Republic’s Félix Sánchez Wins Gold; Puerto Rico’s Javier Culson, Bronze.]

The men’s 400m finals were perhaps the most interesting race of the day. It featured three teenagers and a 33-year-old as competitors. Kirani James of Grenada, made his Olympic debut as the favorite and didn’t disappoint with a time of 43.94, earning a gold medal. Fellow first-timer Luguelin Santos, 18, of the Dominican Republic, won the silver. Trinidad’s Lalonde Gordon won the bronze, making the winner’s circle a perfect Caribbean tri-fecta.

With all the surprises today, you expect the same in the women’s 200m prelim heats. That was just not the case. Murielle Ahoure, Mariya Ryemyen, Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce and Americans Cermelita Jeter, Sanya Richards-Ross and Allyson Felix won the preliminary heats. The event’s final will be on Aug. 8 at 3:45pm and will feature one of the most anticipated showdowns in London, as Felix and Veronica Campbell-Brown vie for gold. Felix, an American, and Campbell Brown, a Jamaican, have been trading positions as the world’s top and second-ranked sprinters for years. Felix has won three world championships, but never a gold. She won silvers in Athens and Beijing. But don’t discount the Jamaican Fraser-Pryce, who on Saturday won her second consecutive gold medal in the 100-meters, or Richards-Ross, who on Sunday won gold in the 400-meters.

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Photo above: Cuba’s Yarisley Silva; below: Dominican Republic’s Luguelín Santos

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