The 2012 Track and Field season can be considered one for the ages. From the extraordinary performances by Usain Bolt and his Jamaican teammates to Grenada’s Kirani James sensational victory in the 400m gold in London to Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce’s national record performance in the 100m at the Jamaican Olympic Trials and the meteoric rise of Anthonique Strachan (Bahamas) and Keshorn Walcott (Trinidad), Caribbean stars shone brightly on the world stage. 2012 also saw the induction of two new members to the sub-10 100m club, Kemar Hyman (Cayman Island) and Kemar Bailey-Cole (Jamaica).
Numerous national records were demolished in Jamaica [men’s 4x1 -36.84; women’s 100m – 10.70; men’s 110m hurdles 13.12], Trinidad [men’s 4x4 – 2:59.40; women’s 200m – 22.55], Bahamas [men’s 4x4 - 2:56.79; men’s 200m – 20.16] and Grenada [men’s 400m - 43.94]. Against this backdrop, the following Caribbean athletes were recognized by TrackLedger.com for their outstanding achievements in 2012.
The Man of the Year:
Usain Bolt (Jamaica): The Man-of-the-Year is Usain Bolt. There is no question that Usain used the 2012 season to cement his status as a legend in track and field. Usain successfully defended his 100m, 200m and 4×1 relay titles in London, becoming the first athlete to accomplish that feat. He had season bests of 9.63 (100m), 19.32 (200m) and ran the anchor leg on the Jamaican 4×100 relay team in a world-record time of 36.84 seconds. 2012 was also a very trying year for the Lightning Bolt. He faced numerous obstacles during the year including a motor vehicle accident, being beaten in the 100m and 200m at the Jamaican Olympic Trials and having his four-years plus winning streak in the 200m snapped. However, on the biggest stage at the London 2012 Olympics, when the entire world was watching, Usain put on a show that made track fans very proud.
The runner-up for the Man-of-the-Year award is Kirani James.
Woman of the Year:
Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce (Jamaica): Good things comes in small packages and this is certainly the case with the diminutive Fraser-Pryce who is worthy of this award. Fraser-Pryce had a sensational 2012 season highlighted by her successful defense of her 100m Olympic title in London in 10.75 seconds. She also set the national record in the 100m (10.70) on her way to taking the sprint double title at the Jamaican Olympic Trials. In only her first year running the 200m, an event that she is not particular fond of, Fraser-Pryce ran a lifetime best 22.10 seconds and took the silver medal in London. She was also an integral part of the Jamaican women’s 4×100 silver medal team. Fraser-Pryce is a warrior on the track and for her accomplishment in 2012 she has earned the title Woman-of-the-Year.
Honorable mention goes to Anthonique Strachan (Bahamas).
Male Break-Through Performer of the Year:
Keshorn Walcott (Trinidad & Tobago): Coming into the 2012 season, only track fans who had followed the CARIFTA Games knew who Keshorn Walcott was. The 19 year-old Walcott who has dominated the javelin events at the junior level in the Caribbean, used the 2012 season to show the world that the Caribbean is not all about sprinting. After dominating the javelin events at the IAAF World Juniors Championships in Barcelona in July with a then personal best throw of 78.64m, the Toco-native stepped-up his game a month later in London and beat the seniors with a national record throw of 84.58m. Winning Olympic gold have propelled him to immediate stardom and rightfully so.
Others that were considered for this award were Warren Weir (Jamaica), Lalonde Gordon (Trinidad), Andrew Riley (Jamaica) and Hansle Parchment (Jamaica). While Riley captured the 100m and the 110m hurdles titles at the NCAA and with Parchment setting national record in the 110m hurdles record (13.12) and Gordon setting lifetime best in the 400m (44.52) respectively, Walcott golden performance at the Olympics made him the most worthy recipient of this award.
Female Break-Through Performer of the Year:
Anthonique Strachan (Bahamas): This title goes to Anthonique Strachan. Strachan experienced a more that successful 2012 season. At the start of the season, the 19 year- old Strachan led the world ranking in the women’s 200m with an impressive time of 22.70 seconds. This was a sign of things to come as Strachan went on to capture the sprint double titles at the IAAF World Juniors Championship in Barcelona in July 2012 in a personal best time of 11.20 and 22.53 seconds respectively. She went to London and made the semi-finals in the 200m.
Most Consistency Performer of the Year:
Yohan “The Beast” Blake: (Jamaica): What does a guy have to do to become the Man-of-the-Year? Blake has to feel like the villains in the Scooby-Doo cartoon who always proclaim at the end of each episode “I would’ve gotten away with it if it wasn’t for those meddling kids.” Blake would have certainly sat atop the sprinting world if it wasn’t for Usain Bolt. But fun and games aside, Blake had a superb year. He improved on his lifetime best time in the 100m from 9.82 in 2011 to 9.75 in 2012. The Beast Blake also had a successful Olympics that saw him leaving London with one gold medal in the 4×100 relays and two silver medals [100m (9.75) and 200m (19.44)]. Blake had a season which saw him finishing in the top two of every event he entered. He was also undefeated in both the 100 and 200m heading into the Olympics. He also had the distinction of beating training partner Usain Bolt twice at the Jamaican Trials.
Honorary mention goes to Keshorn Walcott, Kirani James and Kim Collins
Relay Team of the Year:
Co-Relay Team of the Year (Bahamas/Jamaica): The Jamaican 4×100 relay team and the Bahamas 4×4 relay teams are awarded the 2012 Relay team of the year. Both teams won the gold medal in London. The Jamaican team of Usain Bolt, Yohan Blake, Nesta Carter, and Michael Frater set the world record in 36.84 seconds, erasing the old record of 37.04 seconds that was established at Daegu in 2011. For their exploits this team was named one of the co-relay team of 2012. The other winner is the Golden Knights from Bahamas who won the men’s 4×400 relay in a national record time of 2:56.72, beating the USA in the process. The Bahamian team of Chris Brown, Demetrius Pinder, Michael Mathieu and Ramon Miller ran brilliantly. For their exploits the Golden Knights was credited with the only Bahamian medal in London.
Honorary mention: The Bronze Boys from Trinidad (Lalonde Gordon, Jarrin Solomon, Ade Alleyne-Forte and Deon Lendore)