The game of football gained instant appeal wherever it was played including the Caribbean where British soldiers and settlers introduced the sport as recreational play. Interestingly, organized sport and its diffusion into the Caribbean were never accompanied by the culture of professionalism or business/ industry; barring the ‘sport of kings’.
The ethos of the English public schools of the second half of the 19th century, to a large extent had a deep influence on the development of many sporting teams, in Africa and the Caribbean. They sold a subscription on the old Greek and Roman conviction that sport plays an important part of the education – a healthy mind in a healthy body. In this ethos, to participate is more important than winning.
The Olympic Football Tournament acted as the world’s premiere football championships for the first three decades of the twentieth century. In terms of international development, the Olympic Games signaled the first participation in a major Championship of a team from South America.
The Olympic Games
The ancient Olympic Games were held in Olympia, Greece, from the 8th century BC to the 4th century AD. The Olympics were of fundamental religious importance, featuring sporting events alongside ritual sacrifices honoring both Zeus and Pelops, divine hero and mythical king of Olympia. The winners of the events were admired and immortalized in poems and statues.
The modern Olympic Games are held every four years, with the Summer and Winter Games alternating by occurring every four years but two years apart. The first Games held under the auspices of the IOC were hosted in the Panathenaic stadium in Athens in 1896. In terms of international development, the Olympic Games signaled the first participation in a major Championship of a team from South America, Uruguay.
The Uruguayans had comfortably won the 1923 South American Championship in the December of the previous year to qualify for the tournament as their continent’s sole participants; defeating bitter rivals Argentina 2-0 in the final game.
Football at the 1924 Summer Olympics
Uruguay’s first participation in the Olympics was in Paris, France, in 1924. In that year, Uruguay won its first gold medal, beating Yugoslavia 7–0, United States 3–0, France 5–1, Netherlands 2–1, and in the Final defeating Switzerland 3–0.
In Paris Jose Leandro Andrade would be dubbed La Marveille Noire (Black Pearl).
1928 Summer Olympics
Uruguay’s second participation in the Olympics was in Amsterdam, Netherlands, in 1928. In the final the Swiss proved no match, ultimately, for the Uruguayans whose two goals in the second half put paid to their opponent’s ambitions, Uruguay eventually prevailing 3–0. Interest in the final had been considerable, such was the draw of the Uruguayan side; 60,000 watched and 10,000 were locked out.
1948 – 1952 OLYMPICS
In the 1948 and 1952 OLYMPIC GAMES, the Jamaican-Identity was established/globalized in the international sphere of sport with the ‘medalling’ of our athletes: Mckenley, Laing, Wint, and Rhoden. The cultures of Track and Field Athletics and the OLYMPIC GAMES have played critical roles in the success of Jamaica at the regional and international level of sports.