NESTA CARTER, PRIDE OF JAMAICA, WORLD-CLASS SPRINTER
Since 1948, the tiny island nation of Jamaica has put together a body of work in track-and-field that is the envy of the world.
In the summer Olympics that year, Arthur Wint overtook his compatriot Herb McKinley 10 yards from the tape to grab the gold in the 400-meter dash. Since then, Jamaica has sent athletes to every Olympic games.
Among the new generation of Jamaican sprinters is Nesta Carter, a staple on the Jamaican team for more than a decade. In that time, he has molded a winning career exemplified by persistence, consistency and endurance.
In 2008, at the Beijing Olympics, the Jamaican team announced to the world that there was a new kid on the block. Included in the Sprint Factory’s gold rush were triumphs in the men’s and women’s 100m races, similar victories in the 200m men’s and women’s events and dominance in the 4x100m relays.
Nesta Carter, 29, who hails from Banana Ground in Manchester, Jamaica, is regarded by many as the back bone of the Jamaican 4×100m Olympic and world championship teams and is generally known as the team’s good luck mascot.
In the 2008 Olympics in Beijing, China, Nesta ran the third leg of the 4x100m semi-final with Asafa Powell, Michael Frater and Dwight Thomas. Usain Bolt replaced Thomas in the final and Carter ran the first leg with the team setting a new world record of 37.10 seconds as they nabbed the gold. Carter’s split in the lead-off was 10.34 seconds.
At the 2011 world championships in Daegu, Jamaica defended its 4x100m world title in a time of 37.04 seconds which was a new world record and the first sub-37.10 time clocked by a relay team. In the Moscow world champions in 2013, Nesta won a second world championship relay gold when he led off a team comprised of Bolt, Carter, Nickel Ashmeade and Kemar Bailey-Cole. With the time of 37.36 seconds, Jamaica captured it fifth consecutive sprint relay gold in major championship competition.
In August 2010, he became only the fifth sprinter in history to run the 100m in less than 9.8 seconds. His current 100m personal best of 9.78 ranks him as the sixth-fastest man of all time. In 2014, he secured a gold medal running the 100m at the Diamond League in Stockholm. During the 2013 world championships, he secured an individual 100m bronze medal in Moscow. He followed this with a gold medal in the 4×100 meter relay.
Off-the-field, Nesta is an exemplary role model.
Since the inception of his international career, Nesta has established a foundation in Manchester to instill self-confidence and offer financial support for orphans within the parish. Every year, he promotes the Nesta Carter Fun Day in Manchester,with residents of the two boys’ homes in that parish invited as his special guests to meet the country’s leading track and field celebrities.
The world championships loom later this summer, and Nesta currently has his eyes firmly set on competing at the next Olympics in Brazil where he hopes to add to his medal haul which so far includes two gold. In both the Olympics and world championships, he has earned four gold medals, as well as a silver and a bronze medal.
For Nesta, past is prologue. As he continues to win, he is acknowledged by his peers and admirers as a true Jamaican ambassador, armed with a noble and humble disposition and a true Jewel of Jamaica.