Veronica Campbell-Brown, who won back-to-back Olympic 200m titles to lead Jamaica’s ascent to the top of global sprinting, announced her retirement on the eve of her nation’s Olympic Trials.
“As I take off my spikes never to put them on again, this girl from Clarks Town walks away happy and contented with a race well run,” was posted on the 39-year-old’s social media. “Through the grace of God, I have climbed from a small town in Trelawny, Jamaica up the ladder of success to become one of the most decorated women in the Olympic Games and World Championships history.”
Campbell-Brown sprinted at five Olympics from 2000 to 2016, earning eight medals, one shy of the Olympic women’s track and field record.
In 2004, she beat an 18-year-old Allyson Felix for gold in Athens, becoming Jamaica’s first Olympic flat sprint champion in 28 years. She repeated in 2008, again relegating Felix to silver.
Campbell-Brown also excelled at 100m, winning a world title in 2007 and Olympic bronze medals in 2004 and 2012.
She was honored with a statue in a park outside the National Stadium in Kingston, along with other champions from her era — Usain Bolt, Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce and Asafa Powell. Past Jamaican Olympic sprint legends Herb McKenley, Don Quarrie and Merlene Ottey were previously feted with statues.
Campbell-Brown came from the same parish as Bolt and the same high school as Ottey.
“I realized in primary school, around 10, that I had a chance,” Campbell-Brown said years ago. “I would run a lot, and I would win. I would beat the girls, I would beat the boys, and I realized there was something special about this gift that I had.”
NBC Olympic Research contributed to this report.
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