With the hopes of a nation, and by extension the region squarely on her shoulders, Jamaican female swimmer Alia Atkinson, took to the pool on Monday night, shortly before 9:00pm in the Women’s 100m breaststroke final.
The 28 year old, who is participating in her fourth consecutive Olympic Games, and second consecutive final, earned her spot by finishing joint third in her semi-final Sunday night with a time of 1:06.52.
The former Jamaican Sportswoman of the Year was chasing the distinction of being only the second Jamaican athlete to win a medal outside of track and field at the Olympics.
Drawn in lane 7, Atkinson entered the Olympic Aquatic Centre to loud cheers from the few Jamaican fans on hand, but she was slow out of her blocks and was unable to catch up to her opponents. She pushed hard off the wall at 50 meters but it was not enough as she came home in a relatively slow 1:08.19 to finish in 8th place.
The USA’s Lilly King, who is only 18 years old, swam an Olympic record time of 1:04.93 for gold ahead of Russia’s Yulia Efimova 1:05.50 and her teammate Katie Meili who claimed bronze in 1:05.69.