New York Honor For Jamaican Athletic Trailblazer

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Athletic trailblazer Dennis Johnson.
Athletic trailblazer Dennis Johnson.

News Americas, NEW YORK, NY, Weds. April 16, 2014: Before there was Usain Bolt there was Dennis Johnson.

In fact, many will argue that its Johnson’s science of sprinting program instituted at what is now the University of Technology in Jamaica that created power houses like IAAF Athletes of the Year, Olympians, Bolt and Shelly -Ann Fraser Pryce.

Johnson is a Jamaican athlete who set a 100 yards world record in the 1960’s as a student of San Jose University and went on to win two Olympic medals.

He will be honored in New York tomorrow, April 17th, by the Jamaican Diaspora organization, Team Jamaica Bickle, as part of the group’s 20th anniversary celebration at a reception at St. Francis College, Brooklyn, NY.

Johnson lives by the motto ‘do it right the first time.’

Team Jamaica Bickle was founded by Irwine Clare in 1994 to aid Caribbean athletes from Jamaica, Trinidad & Tobago, Barbados, The Bahamas and even the U.S. Virgin Islands, who compete at the largest annual track and field meet in the United States and the largest annual relay meet in the world the Penn Relays in Philadelphia.

That relays is of set for April 24-26 at Franklin Field in Philadelphia. The Penn Relay Carnival this week named the 1964 Kingston College High School 440-yard relay team that ran 42.7 among its Wall Of Fame Class Of 2014.

While not a meet record, it marked the first appearance of a team from Jamaica in a championship race at the Relays. The team of Jim Grant, Rupert Hoilette, Ken Keyes and Lennox Miller began a tradition at the Relays that has endured for 50 years.

Team Jamaica Bickle Village
Team Jamaica Bickle, a Diaspora Organization, turns 20 this month.

Team Jamaica Bickle, with an army of volunteers, will again descend in the area ‘over the Blue Bridge’ at Franklin Field to feed and support the many athletes who travel to Penn each year.

The group has for the past 20 years done so against a lot of odds – with grassroots fundraising and a few corporate and local sponsors. Twenty years later, TJB is still hoping Caribbean businesses and nationals fill follow the example of companies like Royal Caribbean Bakery, Super Wings, Western Union and Grace Kennedy in seeing the need for investing in the athletes of today, several of whom like Johnson and Bolt, will be tomorrow’s Olympic heroes.

Team Jamaica Bickle fans can donate, volunteer and find more on “TJB” on facebook and twitter.