Quarrie finally earns his golden moment - Athletics
Jamaica’s Don Quarrie must have thought he was cursed when he was edged out by fellow Caribbean athlete Hasely Crawford in the closing metres of the 100m final at the 1976 Olympic Games in Montreal.
Quarrie looked to be home and dry going into the last 30m, but a terrific burst from Crawford on the inside lane saw the Trinidad & Tobago sprinter to the victory, thus completing the latest chapter of Quarrie’s story of Olympic disappointment..
His first taste of Olympic heartache had come eight years earlier after he qualified for the 1968 Games in Mexico City at the age of 17, but he injured himself and was unable to take part.
Four years later in Munich, with the first of three Commonwealth Games gold medals under his belt, he qualified for the semi-finals of the 200m with some comfort, but then pulled up with an injury as eventual champion Valeriy Borzov of the USSR sailed off into the distance.
Having been strongly backed to take gold in the 100m, Quarrie’s defeat to Crawford over 100m was a bitter one However, his superlative skills on the bend would surely give him gold in the 200m.
He was the class act throughout the event, winning his heats and semi-final with energy and effort to spare.
As the eight finalists settled down into their blocks, Quarrie’s main rivals were Crawford and the American Millard Hampton.
Crawford and Quarrie both started well, but then the former pulled his hamstring after 50m and came to an agonising halt on the bend before trudging home long after the race had been completed.
Quarrie came off the bend with a lead of two metres over Hampton and held off his challenge until the line, finishing in 20.22 seconds.
Another American, Dwayne Evans, finished third, with Italian Pietro Mennea, who would win the gold in Moscow four years later, back in fourth.
The win was the highlight of a remarkable sprinting career which was as notable for its longevity as its success.
Quarrie captured the 100m title at the Commonwealth Games in Edmonton two years later, to bring his gold medal haul to seven, and two years later added an Olympic bronze in the 200m in Moscow.
At the 1984 Olympics in Los Angeles, at the ripe old age of 33, he even helped the Jamaicans secure a shock silver in the men’s 100m relay behind the Americans.