Athletics - Culture fuels Jamaican sprinters, says Bolt book author

Sat Aug 13, 2016 11:07am EDT
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By Mitch Phillips

RIO DE JANEIRO (Reuters) - In the last decade, Jamaica, with Usain Bolt as the figurehead, has emerged as the world's dominant sprinting power, usurping the United States from the throne it occupied since the start of the modern Olympic Games in 1896.

After winning five golds over 13 Olympics from 1948-2000, things suddenly changed for the Jamaicans.

They started with double-gold in Athens in 2004, at the 2008 Games they won five of the six sprint events and they took four of six in 2012, claiming 10 of the 18 medals on offer.

Bolt has six of those golds, two each in the 100m, 200m and 4x100m relay and is seeking to complete an improbable treble-treble in Rio, beginning with the men's 100 on Sunday.

One man fascinated by the country's rise was Richard Moore, an award-winning cycling journalist and author, who had become hooked on the murky underworld of athletics when he wrote his acclaimed book "The dirtiest race in history," about Ben Johnson and the 1988 Olympic 100 meters final.

Moore was well-steeped in the issue of doping and the media's struggle to expose it after years on the cycling circuit and decided the Jamaican sprint phenomenon was something that could bear closer scrutiny.

He spent months investigating the scene, talking to athletes, coaches, anti-doping officials, and just about everyone else connected with the sport - although Bolt declined to become involved. The result was the "The Bolt Supremacy - Inside Jamaica's Sprint Factory", which is released in paperback this month.

Perhaps the sprinter was aware of Moore's broad motivation of seeking to break a career-defining story, and the Scot makes no secret of the fact that he traveled to Jamaica hoping to bury Caesar, not to praise him.   Continued...

2016 Rio Olympics - Athletics - Rio de Janeiro, Brazil - 08/08/2016. Usain Bolt dances samba at a press conference. REUTERS/Nacho Doce