Neither rain nor the early Thursday start could deter the hundreds of sports fans and students who witnessed the premiere of the GC Foster documentary film, “Finding Foster: The Search for Jamaica’s Lost Sprint Hero” on Thursday, November 3.
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Foster, a native of Spanish Town, sailed to Bristol, England in 1908 hoping to gain entry at that year’s London Olympic Games. Though he was entered in the British AAA trials, there is no record that he competed, and since Jamaica had no Olympic association at the time, he did not face the starter. He was, however, able to race many of the men who did, winning most of his contests with them, including several over John “Jack” William Morton, the four-time British champion who won his national titles in the same years Foster had done in Jamaica.
The 30-minute production focuses on the research done on Foster for the first chapter of the new book featuring the island’s fifty greatest sprint performances, entitled Fifty Days Afire: Inside Jamaica’s Long Sprint to Freedom, which was also launched at the event. Fire, say the authors Michael A. Grant and Hubert Lawrence, refers to the speed, ambition and tenacity of sprinters who have braved hardships and scaled the heights of sporting glory over more than a century.
Throughout more than 300 pages, the book goes deep into the details surrounding all fifty events, including Foster’s exploits, Dennis Johnson’s matching of the world 100-yard record six times in the summer of 1961; Marilyn Neufville’s two 400-meter world records (indoor and outdoor) set in 1970; the electrifying duels between Don Quarrie and the USA’s Steve Williams, as well as Bert Cameron’s legendary and courageous 400-meter run at the 1984 Los Angeles Games. Fifty Days Afire also includes photographs representing every one of the fifty events.
Fifty Days Afire, which has been endorsed by the Jamaica Olympic Association (JOA) and the Sports Development Foundation (SDF) is available at leading bookstores as well as outlets including Urban Books & Publishers, Totally Male Club Spa & Salon, All Wrapped Up (gift packages) and GC Foster College Library. The book is also available at www.kingstoncomm.com.