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Donald O'Riley Quarrie

Jamaican athlete Donald O'Riley Quarrie was born on February 25, 1951. At the 1976 Olympics in Montreal, he won a gold medal in the 200-meter dash.

Born in Kingston, Quarrie made the Jamaican 100 m team for the 1968 Summer Olympics as an 18-year-old, but he injured himself in training, and couldn't take part. The following year, he won a scholarship for the University of Nebraska, and moved to the United States. There, his sprinting capabilities slowly increased. At the 1970 Commonwealth Games, Quarrie won the gold medal in both the 100 and 200 m, surprising his more experienced competitors. Anchoring the Jamaican 4 x 100 m relay team, he pocketed a third Commonwealth title.

Quarrie repeated his sprint double the following year, at the Pan American Games in Cali. His time in the 200 m, a hand-timed 19,8, tied Tommie Smith's world record of 19,83, even though Quarrie's unofficial electronic time was 19,86. One of the favourites for the upcoming Munich Olympics, Quarrie again suffered from injuries at the Olympic Games. He did compete in the 200 m, but had to abandon his 200 m semi-final after pulling a muscle.

In 1974, Quarrie repeated his 1970 performance by grabbing the 100 and 200 m titles at the Commonwealth Games in Christchurch, becoming the first athlete to retain the title in either event. The next season, he again tied the 200 m world record, 19,8. He also tied the 100 m record with a hand-timed mark (9,9) in 1976, one of only a few athletes to have held these records simultaneously. In 1976, Quarrie could finally compete at the Olympics without injuries. He first made the 100 m, which he lead until overtaken by fellow-Caribbean Hasely Crawford. In the 200 m, Quarrie lead the pack coming out of the turn, and held of all challenges to take the title in 20,22.

At the 1978 Commonwealth Games, won his third consecutive 100 m title, but was eliminated in the 200 m after a cramp attack. Quarrie's fourth Olympics, in Moscow saw him being eliminated in the 100 m semi-finals. His title defence also failed, but he did make the final, and finished third, adding a bronze medal to his collection.

By 1984, Quarrie was no longer among the world's best in the individual sprint events, and it was therefore no surprise he was eliminated in the heats of the 200 m event at the Los Angeles Olympics. However, he won a fourth Olympic medal with the Jamaican relay team, which finished second behind the United States.



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