Bolt, Fraser-Pryce snag IAAF Athlete of the Year honors

Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce (left) and Usain Bolt (right) accept their 2013 IAAF World Athlete of the Year awards at a gala in Monaco on Saturday.. Associated Press (AP)

Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce (left) and Usain Bolt (right) accept their 2013 IAAF World Athlete of the Year awards at a gala in Monaco on Saturday.. Associated Press (AP)

by Jodee Brown

Jamaica can now lay claim to being only the third country ever to sweep IAAF Athlete of the Year honors after Olympic legends, Usain Bolt and Shelly-Ann Fraser-Prycetook home the male and female titles respectively at a gala on Saturday in Monaco.

Neither athlete winning was a shock in truth as both left their marks on the 2013 IAAF World Championships in Moscow, with both winning the 100m and 200m titles as well as anchoring Jamaica to gold in the 4 by 100 relays. Bolt beat out British long distance Olympic champion,Mohamed Farah and Ukranian high jumper, Bohdan Bondarenko on the men’s side while Fraser-Pryce beat New Zealand’s world champion shot-putter, Valerie Adams and the Czech Republic’s 400m queen, Zuzana Hejnova.

While Bolt’s victory continued his stellar run of consecutive athlete of the year triumphs (five in the last six year – exception being 2010), the win for Fraser-Prycebroke a 23 year drought for Jamaican women in relation to the award, being the first since legendary sprinter, Merlene Ottey to do so. The win comes after Fraser-Pryce was surprisingly left off the shortlist last year despite retaining her 100m title at last year’s Olympics in London.

Prior to Jamaica’s sweep this year, only the United States in 1988 (Carl Lewis and Florence Griffith-Joyner) and the United Kingdom in 1993 (Colin Jackson and Sam Gunnell).

Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce named finalist for IAAF World Athlete of the Year

Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce will contend for Jamaica's first female IAAF World Athlete of the Year honor in 23 years later this month.

Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce will contend for Jamaica’s first female IAAF World Athlete of the Year honor in 23 years later this month.

by Jodee Brown

As expected, two time Olympic 100m gold medalist and Jamaican sprinting queen, Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce has been named as one of three finalists for the prestigious IAAF World Female Athlete of the Yearaward, set to be handed out later this month in Monaco.

Fraser-Pryce will contend against world champion New Zealand shot-putter, Valerie Adams and Zuzana Hejnova, the reigning 400m hurdles world champion from the Czech Republic. Fraser-Pryce was nominated for the World Athlete of the Year honor after winning gold in both the 100m and 200m at the 2013 IAAF World Championships in Moscow this past summer. She also anchored Jamaica’s dominant victory in the women’s 4 by 100m relay at the same event and is the winningest female runner on the track circuit this year.

Should Fraser-Pryce walk away with the distinguished honor, she will be the first Jamaican runner to win it since the legendary Merlene Ottey copped the award in 1990.

Fraser-Pryce’s compatriot and fellow Olympic gold medalist, Usain Bolt faces off against elite British long-distance runner, Mohamed Farah and Ukranian high jumper, Bohdan Bondarenko for the men’s version of the Athlete of the Year honor.

The winners for both awards will be announced at a ceremony on November 16.

Usain Bolt named finalist for IAAF World Athlete of the Year

Multiple Olympic gold medalist and world champion, Usain Bolt has been named as a finalist for the IAAF World Athlete of the Year award.. thesource.com

Multiple Olympic gold medalist and world champion, Usain Bolt has been named as a finalist for the IAAF World Athlete of the Year award.. thesource.com

by Jodee Brown

Jamaican sprinting legend, Usain Bolt has once again been nominated for the IAAF’s World Athlete of the Year award, set to be awarded on November 16 in Monaco.

On Monday, the world’s governing athletics bodyannounced the three male finalists for the award, which included Bolt, a six-time Olympic gold medalist, as well as British long-distance runner, Mohamed Farahand Ukranian high jumper, Bohdan Bondarenko.

The men were selected after a month-long process involving the World Athletics Family. Female nominees for the same award will be announced on Tuesday.

Bolt, who completed the sprint double and helped retain Jamaica’s 4 by 100m relay title at this past summer’sIAAF World Championships in Moscow, has won theIAAF World Athlete of the Year the last two years and four of the last five, with 2010 being his only near miss, losing out to Kenyan 800m maestro, David Rudisha.

Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce, who also achieved the sprint double at the worlds, is on a shortlist for the femaleWorld Athlete of the Year. No Jamaican female athlete has won this honor since Merlene Ottey copped it in 1990.

WADA probes Jamaica’s drug testing agency over alleged gaps prior to London 2012

The World Anti-Doping Agency is investigating alleged inconsistencies in Jamaica's anti-doping policy prior to the London 2012 games, which saw Usain Bolt and Shelly-Ann Fraser Pryce retain their 100m titles.

The World Anti-Doping Agency is investigating alleged inconsistencies in Jamaica’s anti-doping policy prior to the London 2012 games, which saw Usain Bolt and Shelly-Ann Fraser Pryce retain their 100m titles.

by Jodee Brown

Jamaica’s drug-testing agency, the Jamaican Anti-Doping Commission (JADCO) is now facing an investigation by the World Anti-Doping Agency(WADA) over alleged loopholes and a lack of policing of its athletes prior to the 2012 Olympics in London, according to reports Monday.

The Associated Press reports that WADA is conducting an audit of JADCO after data revealed to the Jamaica Gleaner by JADCO’s former director,Anne Shirley indicating that little to no out-of-competition testing of Jamaica’s athletes took place in the seven months prior to the summer games in July and August of last year. According to Shirley’s data, there were 96 tests administered during Jamaica’s national trials and a local invitational meet in May and June of that year. However, Shirley insisted that no testing took place for five of the seven months leading up to the London games.

Additionally, Shirley’s figures revealed that, aside from 10 out-of-competition test administered in February and one in April of 2012, JADCO’s out-of-competition program stopped. These figures were then published in a Sports Illustrated article this past summer, driving worldwide attention to the issue and triggering talk of a possible expulsion of Jamaica from the 2016 summer games in Rio de Janeiro should any damning findings regarding Jamaica’s anti-doping policies be found.

WADA Director General, David Howman told the Associated Press that the agency was kept out of the loop regarding Jamaica’s alleged lapses in its drug-testing policy.

“There was a period of — and forgive me if I don’t have the number of months right — but maybe five to six months during the beginning part of 2012 where there was no effective operation,” he said. “There might have been one or two, but there was no testing. So we were worried about it, obviously.”

Howman admitted that this is an ‘extraordinary’ audit, with Jamaica being a ‘high priority’ because of these findings.

Shirley said the findings were alarming, telling the AP“It irritated me as a Jamaican: one test out of competition, for what, five months or four months? Given that it was an Olympic year, I felt that more could have been done.”

JADCO chairman, Herbert Elliott blasted Shirley in a response to the AP, branding her as a ‘Judas’ and ‘demented’ while rubbishing the data she collected. He admitted that JADCO could not accommodate auditors from WADA at a date they originally set and does not expect such a visit before the end of 2013.

Howman says that excuse hasn’t sit well with WADA.

“It doesn’t over-impress us,” he told the AP“If there’s going to be that sort of delay, you need to have a better reason.”

International Olympic Committee (IOC) medical officials also revealed that they weren’t made aware of these alleged gaps until Shirley’s data was revealed. Though they admit they would have ordered additional tests on Jamaican athletes had they known about this data sooner, IOC’s medical commission chairman, Arne Ljungvist intimated that it would be unfair to pinpoint Jamaica’s drug-testing issues given their high status and reputation within the track world.

“Jamaica is far from being alone, you know?” she said. “We know that out-of-competition testing in the proper way is not being conducted unfortunately in many parts of the world. One shouldn’t single out Jamaica.”

Jamaica’s high-level performances at the last two Olympics, including nine gold medals and three world records (all involving sprint legend, Usain Bolt) has garnered them worldwide attention, thus making WADA’s probe that much more critical as Bolt, Shelly-Ann Fraser Pryce and others aim to defend their sprint titles at the 2016 summer games in Brazil.

“It’s almost abnormal, OK? Let’s face it. For a country of less than three million people,” she said.“What, you’re saying there’s something peculiar in the water in Jamaica?”

Usain Bolt to retire following 2016 Olympics

Usain Bolt6by Jodee Brown

Arguably the greatest sprinter in history, Usain Bolt has left an indelible mark on the sport with his talent, charisma, and a plethora of records along the way. The summer of 2016 will be the last chance for the world to see the Jamaican legend showcase his unique skill set.

On Wednesday morning, Bolt announced that he is set to retire following the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio Di Janeiro, Brazil. The six-time Olympic gold medalist and reigning world champion in the 100m and 200m signaled his intent to win gold at next year’sCommonwealth Games in Glasgow, the 2015 IAAF World Championships in Beijing and the 2016 summer games before calling it quits from a spotlight that has shone on him since he made waves as a teenager.

“So far, it [retirement] is after the Olympics in Rio,”Bolt told the Associated Press ahead of his final race of the season in Belgium. “I think if I am in great shape, I’ll go there and do what I have to do. I think it will be a good time to retire on top.”

He continued, “If I want to be among the greats of [Muhammad] Ali and Pele and all these guys, I have to continue dominating until I retire.”

Bolt’s track record is impeccable as the now 27-year-old sprinter became the only man in Olympic history to win back to back gold medals in the 100m, 200m and 4 by 100m relay respectively. After winning gold in all three events in last month’s IAAF World Championships in Moscow, he became the most decorated runner in the event’s history, with eight gold and two silver medals.

He owns the world records in the 100m (9.58) and 200m (19.19), both which he broke in the 2009 world championships in Germany while helping the 4 by 100m relay shatter its own world record at last year’s summer games in London.

Before he goes out, Bolt hopes to top those marks once again, admitting that while the 100m remains the toughest mark to top, the 200m record is well within reach.

“I have learned, I have mastered the art of running the turn,” Bolt said of the 200. “So if I can stay injury-free and be in good shape, then it is possible for me to definitely go after the world record.”

Jamaica threatened with expulsion from 2016 Olympics over drug testing issues

jamaicaOlympics2by Jodee Brown

The World Anti-Doping Agency, WADA has issued a stern warning to one of track and field’s most prominent nations as Jamaica could face expulsion from the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio De Janeiro if the local government fails to address inadequacies in its drug testing program.

British newspaper, the Telegraph reported Wednesdayevening that WADA’s general director, David Howmanhas urged Jamaica to look into is drug testing policy after explosive accusations by former Jamaica Anti-Doping Commission (JADCO) head, Anne Shirley that the island has not done enough to prevent drug use amongst its athletes.

In an article for Sports Illustrated, Shirley, who quit asJADCO president in February, accused Jamaican politicians and administrators of ignoring her constant warnings regarding the issue while claiming recent positive tests returned by Asafa Powell, Sherone Simpson and others were a ‘disaster’ waiting to happen. Additionally, she revealed that JADCO only did one out-of-competition drug test in five months prior to last year’s Olympics in London, England.

Following these claims, Howman has threatened that should these issues not be resolved, WADA could deem JADCO non-compliant with its code of conduct, which could affect Jamaica’s participation in the 2016 summer games as well as other, upcoming track and field events.

“Our normal approach if we have issues falling into the category of either complaint or concern is to try to work with the particular signatory – in this case the Nada [national anti-doping agency] – and remedy it,”Howman said, according to the Telegraph. “If nothing happens, we can ask our board to declare any of the signatories non-compliant and that has implications as to whether teams from the country would be admitted into various events.”

He continued, “It’s serious. And I think that if responsible people in Jamaica are looking at it then they will address it. I would be disappointed if they didn’t. But, certainly, if there’s a lack of response then it’s something that we at WADA would want to take up with the Jamaican government.”

“We’ve worked closely with Jamaica for a number of years. I was down there a few years ago to try to look after issues we felt needed to be addressed and they were then addressed by the government of the day.”

“We knew that there was a spell in Jamaica where they didn’t have a CEO and there was a spell when they were not conducting testing and we didn’t know the reason for that. But that was certainly something that we became aware of.”

Howman also added that he has a very positive relationship with Jamaica’s prime minister and former sports minister, Portia Simpson-Miller and believes they can work towards a solution that will help strengthen the country’ drug policies and testing regiments.

The Jamaican track team is coming off a nine-medal haul at the recently concluded IAAF World Championships in Moscow, Russia. Double 100m Olympic champions, Usain Bolt and Shelly-Ann Fraser Pryce each walked away with three gold medals while the 4 by 400m team won silver, Warren Weir won silver in the 200m and Nesta Carter won bronze in the 100m.

Aidonia records Usain Bolt tribute song

Usain Bolt6by Jodee Brown

With today marking the 27th birthday of legendary Jamaican sprinter, Usain Bolt, Dancehall star, Aidoniahas given the six-time Olympic champion a gift in song after releasing a tribute song in his honor with a special remix of his hit single, Run Road.

The tribute, which features his Jag One Productions(J.O.P) protégé, Deablo was recorded the night prior to Bolt’s defense of his 200m title at the IAAF World Championships in Russia on Saturday. Additionally, Bolt rebounded from his false start during the 100m at the 2011 edition of the world championships to take gold in that event last week while helping the 4 by 100m relay team retain their title.

Aidonia, who says he has developed a good friendship with Bolt, spoke of how the tribute came about. He told the Jamaica STAR“It was a no-brainer; when we got in studio, there were so many adjectives to describe Usain Bolt. He is the boss of track and field, the most naturally gifted and the greatest the world has ever seen.”

He continued, “In 2008, I recorded a song called Bolt Action, so is from long time the respect is there. Give thanks that my publicist got the Run Road tribute to him in time before his race and him let the world know that he appreciated it. I also want to big up all our athletes cause dem mek wi proud as an island. Nuff love goes out.”

Bolt won the 200m with a time of 19.66 seconds, with teammate Warren Weir taking silver and Mikael Ashmeade finishing fourth. He then shouted out the J.O.Pcrew in his post-race interview with BBC for their efforts.

“Usain Bolt loves music,” said Keona Williams,Aidonia’s publicist. “Run Road is one of his favourite dancehall songs he always uses the term ‘run road’ in his conversations and so as a team, we came together and said we should do this tribute for him because he would very much appreciate it, which he did.”

On Tuesday night, Aidonia held a tribute night to Bolt and all of Jamaica’s athletes at the QUAD Nightclubin New Kingston, where they had a toast for Bolt at midnight.