The Caribbean sparkled in the summer event organized by the Japanese capital. Several countries had memorable performances. For example, Cuba beat all forecasts and finished in 14th position, with seven titles. Meanwhile, Jamaica finished in 21st place, with four gold medals, and the Dominican Republic achieved its best historical performance, with five medals. Who were the most outstanding Caribbean athletes at the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games?
Elaine Thompson-Herah, the Queen of Speed
Jamaica’s Elaine Thompson-Herah confirmed that she is the queen of speed in athletics. In Tokyo she won three more titles, increasing her total to five at two summer events.
Thompson-Herah became the first woman to achieve the 100-200m double gold at two consecutive Olympic Games. In the 100 meters her time of 10.61 seconds was fabulous, a new Olympic record that broke that of Florence Griffith Joyner, set in 1988. The dominance of the Jamaican sprinters was absolute, as Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce and Shericka Jackson took the podium.
Then, in the 200-meter dash, Elaine won even more easily, with a time of 21.53 seconds, a record for Jamaica as well as the second-best mark in history for that distance. To complete her Olympic feat, Thompson-Herah was part of her country’s 4×100m relay, alongside Brianna Williams, Fraser-Pryce and Jackson. This formidable quartet triumphed convincingly in that race, well ahead of the Americans.
The Immovable Mijain Lopez
Never in the history of Olympic wrestling had an athlete shown such superiority over his rivals. Cuba’s Mijaín López won his fourth title in the 120-130 kilograms category of Greco-Roman wrestling and his rivals could not score a single point, for the third consecutive summer appointment.
Mijaín became the fourth athlete in the centennial history of the Olympic Games to win the same title in four games in a row. His name appears alongside other legends, such as rower Paul Evstroem, sprinter/jumper Carl Lewis, wrestler Kaori Icho, swimmer Michael Phelps and discus thrower Al Oerter.
The “Giant from Herradura”, who also has five world titles, is 39 years old. Paris 2024 is just 36 months away. Will the best Cuban athlete of all time continue to deliver on the mat?
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Jasmine Camacho-Quinn’s Redemption
At the Rio 2016 Games, Puerto Rican Jasmine Camacho-Quinn retired in tears, after knocking down several hurdles and being disqualified in the semifinal race. Her inconsolable crying was one of the saddest images of that event. Five years later, she cried again at the Olympic Games, only this time they were tears of joy, after winning the 100 meters hurdles, with a time of 12.37 seconds and becoming the first champion of that Caribbean Island in athletics.
In the semifinals, in Tokyo, Camacho-Quinn secured a place in history, setting an Olympic record of 12.26 seconds. She is 24 years old and says that she feels 100% Puerto Rican, which is why she decided to run for the country where her mother was born.
Julio Cesar La Cruz, an Untouchable “Shadow”
Julio Cesar La Cruz has been the best Cuban boxer of the last decade. They call him “The Shadow” for his peculiar fighting style, with his guard down, always provoking his rivals. He competes in the 91-kilogram division, where a single stroke from his rivals can inevitably take him down. The only problem is that no matter how many times his opponents try, they cannot seem to find “The Shadow” on the ring.
La Cruz won his second consecutive Olympic title and once again showed that, with his style, he continues to win. His triumph places him among the most outstanding Caribbean athletes at the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games. He wants to fight in Paris 2024, where he will seek to compete against three boxing icons: Lazslo Papp, Teófilo Stevenson and Félix Savón, the only three-time Olympic champions.
Hansle Parchment stunned in Tokyo
Jamaica’s Hansle Parchment was not among the favorite, but in the moment of truth, he ran faster than his rivals and won the Olympic title in the 110-meter hurdles, with a time of 13.04 seconds.
The vast majority expected the American Grant Holloway to win in this discipline; however, Parchment had the best day of his life, went at it with everything he had and beat the world champion by just 0.05. Another Jamaican, Ronald Levy, came in third in the race.
At 31, Parchment added the most valuable prize to his record, having previously won the Olympic bronze in London 2012.
The Unattainable Steven Gardiner
Before the Olympics began PanamericanWorld predicted that Bahamian Steven Gardiner’s gold medal was one of the safest bets for the Caribbean region. This runner did not disappoint and showed us that he is number one in the world in the 400 meters flat, achieving a comfortable victory, at the Tokyo finals, with a time of 43.85 seconds.
The Caribbeans also celebrated the third place, in this race, of another Olympic champion: Kirani James from Granada.
The Power of Jamaica’s “Pocket Rocket”
Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce has been one of the greatest sprinters of all time. In her fourth Olympic appearance, “Pocket Rocket”, as she is nicknamed, added two more medals to her impressive track record.
In the 100 meters, Fraser-Pryce tried to obtain her third title on this distance, but she could not beat her countrywoman Thompson-Herah and came in second, with a time of 10.74 seconds. She made history anyway because she became the first athlete to win four Olympic medals in the 100 meters.
In the 200 meters she came in fourth and her Olympic farewell was the best possible: she ran in the 4×100 meters relay and won her third crown in summer events.
“Pocket Rocket” finished her Olympic cycle with eight medals, boasting three gold, four silver and one bronze.
Shaunae Miller-Uibo’s Second Olympic Crown
For five years, Bahamian Shaunae Miller-Uibo has been the queen of the 400 meters. The Rio Olympic champion again dared to compete in the 200 meters in Tokyo. She didn’t do well as she finished last, however, days later, the story was different in the 400s.
At Rio 2016, Miller-Uibo had to throw herself over the finish line to beat Allyson Felix. This time, the Bahamian dominated the competition from start to finish and triumphed with a record of 48.36 seconds, a record for the Caribbean.
Marileidy Paulino Entered the Sports History of the Dominican Republic
The Dominican Republic athletes had the best performance of all time in the Olympic Games, obtaining five medals, two of them from Marileidy Paulino.
Paulino was part of the mixed 4×400 meters relay that came in second. She ran a powerful second leg and the distance she took over her rivals was decisive for the silver medal.
Paulino then participated in the 400 meters and lost only to the uncatchable Bahamian Miller-Uibo. She ran the race in 49.20 seconds to set a national record and secure a place in the sports history of her country by becoming the first Dominican athlete with two Olympic medals.
Zacharias Bonnat, a silver with an Olympic record
Weightlifter Zacarias Bonnat was another one of the most outstanding Caribbean athletes at the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games. The Dominican gave his country the first Olympic medal in this discipline. In the 81-kilogram division, Bonnat set an Olympic record in the clean and jerk modality, after lifting 204 kilos. However, China’s Xiaojun Lyu surpassed him in the total, with 374 kilograms, against 367 kilos for the Caribbean athlete.