They’re Olympic sprinters, long-distance pros, fitness goddesses and all-around strong Jamaican women who have bark and bite, soul and stamina, and energy and endurance to spare. In honour of this month’s Olympics spectacle in big, bad Brazil, we pay tribute to some of the homegrown women (in no particular order), who always strike gold when it comes to “working it” – and inspiring others along the way.
With gazelle-like energy and the stamina of a cheetah, this new-generation sprinting sensation continues to make her presence felt both locally and on the international scene – and that lightning speed, coupled with exquisite muscular control, seems poised to take her all the way to the Olympics podium this season.
The phrase ‘fiercely committed’ doesn’t even begin to describe Kamila’s attitude when it comes to building her fitness empire and toning that gorgeous body that pops curves in all the right places. Consider yourself fortunate if you’ve ever participated in one of her free workout sessions at the Emancipation Park, but you’re sure to hit the jackpot when you sign up for her one-on-one tutorials that, according to word-of-mouth, deliver real results fast.
JENNIFER ‘JENNY JENNY’ SMALL
They don’t call her the Energizer Bunny for nothing! Whether on the airwaves, the netball court (girl got skills) or the Dancin’ Dynamites stage (flaunting those enviable gams and dance moves), Jenny’s trim physique and tireless work ethic are the very definition of can’t stop won’t stop.
Power in a pint-sized package doesn’t get any better than this world-class athlete who effortlessly combines star quality with consistent, top-of-the-line performances. A cross between Merlene Ottey and Gail Devers, the perennial Jamaican champion is a staunch believer in the benefits of hard work. That’s why when it comes to a marquee event like the World Champs or the Summer Olympics, you can always bet the money in your pocket on this rocket!
We’ve watched with utter fasciation as this long-distance phenom evolved from Girls Champs standout to national 800M champion, and her remarkable grit and unstoppable drive are always worth commenting on. This summer’s Rio Games bring the biggest test of her burgeoning career so far but, as ever, nifty Natoya will rise to the occasion.
For us, Miss Hunt is like a Caribbean Laila Ali, an exquisite blend of tough and tender, saucy and sweet. You don’t mess with her the wrong way. A former physical trainer with her own St. Andrew-based gym, Denise’s tight bod is still in great shape, and the crowd at last month’s Fun in the Son gospel festival got a taste of her regimen when she treated them to a round of push-ups, midway her emceeing duties. Oh yes, she did!
DR. SANNETA MYRIE
Regular workouts, dancing and other performing-arts disciplines help keep this beauty looking good and feeling great. The do-it-all doc, who welcomes her Miss Jamaica World successor later this year, may not be a sprint queen, but by all appearances she can teach us all a thing or two about balancing work and play and what it means to achieve your personal best.
Dance school grad. Check. NDTC alumna. Check. Terrific fitness and dance coach. Body for days. Cheeeeeck. Yendi Phillips had it going on when she reigned as Miss JA (and Miss Universe runner-up) and she’s still got it going on in her latest chapter as instructor, single mom and game-show host, etc. Like her idol Lisa Hanna, Phillips remains a sporty, healthy and multifaceted role model for girls and young women everywhere.
The name Karlene Blagrove has become synonymous with outshining the pack in Jamaican 5Ks, 10Ks and marathons. She’s in a league of her own. Ever sporting a boyish ’cut and a tight muscular framework, she is a master blender of energy and endurance – well into her 40s! – and the countless medals, trophies and plaques gracing her trophy case speak for themselves.
If there’s one thing history has proven it’s that you must never count VCB out. With her Serena-like physique and dogged determination, the sprint icon is still at the top of her game, and her appearance in Rio this month is proof that the world has not seen the last of this medal maven, who loves to deliver outstanding performances on the track and exemplify the gleam of the born competitor.
BIG UPS! Media maven and biker chick Paula-Ann Porter-Jones, swimming siren Alia Atkinson, and Sunshine Girls star Vangelee Williams