The island with the fastest women and men in the world, Jamaica has been plunged into mourning after news came that Jamaica’s first track and field star, Isis Clarke-Reid, passed away at her Port St Lucie, Florida, home on Monday, June 8.
Isis died at age 100 and at the time of her death, she was wheelchair-bound and suffered from dementia, which is a chronic illness that causes a mental breakdown.
She became frail in recent years and her family has been devastated by the news and is particularly disheartened that she did not get the recognition she deserved from the Jamaican government and people.
The former track star celebrated her 100th birthday on November 18, 2019.
She broke her own national records at various track meets in the late 1930s, as she represented Jamaica in the 100m, 200m, and the 80m low hurdles.
She first, however, represented the country at 1938 Central American and Caribbean (CAC) Games when she was only 19-year-old and, also when Jamaica competed under the British colonial flag.
Isis was part of the quartet that included David Messam, Rhona Saunders, and Beryl Delgado, that won a bronze medal for Jamaica in the 4x100m relay at the 1938 CAC Games in Panama City. The legendary Arthur Wint, who would go on to create Olympic history in London in 1948, was part of the Jamaican team that placed fifth among 10 countries, winning 22 medals at those games.
More could be said relating to her trailblazing performance in sprinting but her death has really hit the Jamaican sporting fraternity.
Reportedly, before the coronavirus pandemic, Minister of Sport Olivia Grange had planned to visit and celebrate her contribution to Jamaica.