Elaine Thompson and Those Sneakers

first_imgMouths were agape in London last Saturday when Olympic champion Elaine Thompson won the 100 meters Diamond League running in sneakers. Thompson is the favorite to win the women’s 100 meters in the upcoming London World Championships.Thompson revealed after the race traditional spikes hurt her Achilles tendons. Running in them made her uncomfortable.Special Nike running shoeIn the Diamond League race, Thompson actually was testing a running shoe created especially for her by sporting goods company Nike. The shoes do have tiny spikes in its sole.Spikes are used by sprinters to keep them light on their feet, and prevent them from slipping on the track.Jamaica youth athletes run without spikes Running in non-traditional track shoes is another indicator of Jamaica’s athletic prowess as a nation. Most of the country’s top athletes, including Merlene Ottey, Usain Bolt, Veronica Campbell-Brown and Asafa Powell, hail from rural Jamaica. As youngsters, like a vast number of Jamaican youth, they ran on rough, hilly terrain for miles barefooted. From as early as the early childhood education stage some children participate in their annual school’s sports day barefooted or in sneakers.South Florida resident, Martin Smith, a former athlete, formerly competed in track and field at one of the country’s premier high schools, Kingston College in the 1970s. According to Smith, he remembers kicking off his uncomfortable spikes to compete successfully in several events.“I never liked spikes, they made me feel like I was going to fall,” Smith said. “One sports day I just kicked them off and ran a very good leg in the 4X100 relay and third in the 200 meters. I have never run in spikes in my entire life,” he said.Thompson herself hails from a rural mountainous district, Banana Ground in Manchester parish. She represented the rural Christiana High School at the now iconic Boys and Girls Championships. At these championships, she was scouted by Paul Francis, brother of MVP head coach Stephen Francis.While the world may be amazed that Elaine Thompson defeated a crack field including her rival Dafne Schippers wearing ‘sneakers’, to many Jamaicans, especially residents of Banana Ground, it was just another day’s romp.Copyright 2017 – Caribbean National Weekly Newslast_img read more