Jun 07, 2024

That late afternoon and evening of July 21, 2022, the eyes of the world were on her. She had been running fast, and her performance could redefine the limits of speed, or at least flirt with them. Faced with these realities, Shericka Jackson reappeared at the legendary Hayward Field with her unmistakable smile and the unique charisma of her homeland, which makes Jamaican athletes beloved and followed from the four corners of the universe.

The race, the final of the 200 meters at the World Championships in Eugene, made her the second-fastest in the history of this event and crowned her as a world champion in an individual event for the first time in her life. It was just a few seconds and her feet to demonstrate that the historic strength of Jamaican speed was still alive. It was just a few scarce ticks of any clock to establish that, from that moment on, history would also be written with her name.

A year later, at the National Athletics Centre in Budapest, Shericka did it again. She came a bit closer to Florence Griffith-Joyner’s world record of 21.34, set in Seoul in 1988. She clocked in at 21.41 seconds, improving her personal best, and came just 0.07 seconds short of the all-time fastest time.

At a giant pace, the Caribbean athlete has become a reference point in contemporary female speed. In her extensive list of achievements, she has a string of medals, among which five Olympic ones stand out, although none are individual gold. That’s one of the big challenges of her journey to Paris.


When we see her, we would never imagine that behind the contagious energy of her perpetual smile, there are discrepancies with what her childhood was like. Shericka moved around a lot during much of her childhood, which was disruptive for building lasting relationships.

In a conversation with Jamaican broadcaster Simone Clarke on her podcast “Sim Soul Sessions,” Jackson admitted to having built an emotional wall since childhood.

“I feel like I never had enough time to be a child. The constant movement made me feel like I was older. Being here for a while, there for a while. That made me feel lonely many times, but it also taught me to be resilient and to find my inner strength,” reflected the Olympic champion of Tokyo 2020 in the women’s 4×100 relay

Born in Saint Ann Parish on July 16, 1994, she showed a special aptitude for sports from an early age, excelling not only in athletics but also in other school sports.

Her journey in athletics began during her school days at Steer Town Academy in Ocho Rios. Later, ‘Jacko’ transferred to Vere Technical High School to pursue her secondary education, where she began to gain prominence for her running talent.

Under the guidance of renowned coach Stephen Francis, she made her debut in the track and field arena while representing the MVP Track Club of the University of Technology Jamaica (UTech).

Her first experience as a national representative of Jamaica came at the age of 14, at the 2008 CARIFTA Games held in Saint Kitts and Nevis, where she won the 400 meters and the 4×400 meters relay. A year later, at the Vieux Fort, Saint Lucia edition, she achieved everything she aimed for, winning titles in the 200m, 400m, 4x100m, and 4x400m.


The footprints of the four-time world champion in sports and beyond are undeniable. Simply following her day-to-day life or reviewing the all-time lists of the 100 meters and 200 meters events is enough to admire her.

When speaking of fast women and complete athletes, her name will necessarily be on the list. And indeed, the seven-time national champion is the highest-ranked active sprinter in history.
with personal bests of 10.71 in the 100m, 21.45 in the 200m, and 49.49 in the 400m.

She is the first athlete in the history of the World Athletics Championships to win medals in the 100, 200, and 400 meters, including the 4x100m and 4x400m relays.

She is also the second athlete in history, behind Marita Koch, to win medals in the 100m, 200m, 400m, 4x100m, and 4x400m at the World Championships and/or the Olympic Games. Her name also appears among the protagonists of the best time for the sprint medley relay (SMR) at 1000 meters for athletes under 18: 2:03.42 minutes set in Lille in 2011.

If we’re going to talk about a pinnacle characteristic in Shericka Jackson’s sports career, that would be versatility. She has shown that she navigates the shorter distances of the track with ease. She is a sprinter, in the fullest sense of the word.

A key moment in her career was at Tokyo 2020, where she won medals in the 100 and 200 meters. Her transition from the 400 meters to the shorter distances demonstrated her incredible adaptability and ability to compete at the highest level. “I’ve always had the speed, but I had to adapt and learn to run more efficiently in the shorter distances. It’s been an exciting challenge,” declared the five-time Olympic medalist on one occasion when asked about her transition.

Despite the challenges of her childhood, Shericka has maintained a positive mindset and a strong work ethic. Off the track, she enjoys spending time with her family and friends, and she is dedicated to the education and development of young athletes in Jamaica.

Shericka is active in her community, collaborating with charities and development programs for young athletes. Her story of overcoming and success serves as inspiration, ensuring that she leaves footprints that go beyond mere sports.


Jackson, at 29 years old, is the fastest living woman of all time in the 200 meters. In the days leading up to her recent participation in the Bislett Games in Oslo, she reiterated that the world record of 21.34 seconds set by Florence Griffith-Joyner is something she and her coach Paul Francis have their eyes on.

“The coach and I have been working on many things, and last year we came close. This year, we will work on the finer details as we hope for the best at the end of this season,” said Jackson.

Con siete títulos nacionales, tres títulos de la Liga Diamante y cuatro medallas de oro en el Campeonato Mundial ya en su vitrina, Jackson reveló que agregar una medalla de oro olímpica individual a su colección está en su lista de deseos con los Juegos de París acercándose rápidamente.

I haven’t won an individual gold medal at the Olympic Games yet, so that’s definitely one of my goals this year, and I’m working to achieve it by the end of August,” she said.

“Every race is an opportunity to show my best self. No matter how tough the journey, I’m always ready to give it my all on the track,” she concluded.

First, she will have to overcome the formidable Olympic Trials in Jamaica, where she will compete against other illustrious Caribbean athletes like Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce, Elaine Thompson-Herah, and the emerging Brianna Lyston, to name a few.

Written by Lilyan Cid


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