Veronica Campbell-Brown (1982–)
Veronica Campbell-Brown is a former University of Arkansas (UA) in Fayetteville (Washington County) track and field athlete who specializes in the 100 meters, 200 meters, and 4×100-meter relay. A citizen of Jamaica, she is the most decorated Olympic athlete affiliated with the state of Arkansas, having won eight Olympic medals from 2000 to 2016. In addition to her Olympic accolades, Campbell-Brown has garnered numerous medals at the youth, junior, and senior levels of competition. In 2007, she became the first of eight track and field athletes to win an International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) World Championship title, in her case in the 100 meters, at all three competitive levels.
Veronica Campbell was born on May 15, 1982, in Clarks Town, Trelawny, Jamaica, one of ten children of Cecil Campbell and Pamella Bailey. She discovered her talent for running by winning races in elementary school sports days. With her athletic ability and strong academic skills, Campbell earned a scholarship to Vere Technical High School in Clarendon, Jamaica. Under Vere Tech’s strong track and field program, she developed into a world-class sprinter, debuting internationally at the 1996 Central American and Caribbean Junior Championships (CACJC) and winning a gold medal in the 4×100-meter relay. At the 1997 Caribbean Free Trade Association (CARIFTA) Games, Campbell won a gold medal in the 4×100-meter relay. In 1998, she won gold medals in the 100 meters and the 4×100-meter relay at the CACJC and finished seventeenth in the 100 meters at the IAAF Junior World Championships. At the 1998 IAAF Youth World Championships, she won gold medals in the 100 meters and the 4×100-meter relay.
In 2000, Campbell enrolled at Barton County Community College in Great Bend, Kansas, on a track and field scholarship. She won national junior college titles in the 60 meters indoors and the 100 and 200 meters outdoors. As a member of the Jamaican Olympic team, Campbell garnered a silver medal in the 4×100-meter relay. Later that year, she won the 100 and 200 meters at the IAAF Junior World Championships. Campbell won gold medals in the 100 meters, 200 meters, and 4×100-meter relay at the 2001 CARIFTA Games. In 2002, she won the silver medal in the 100 meters at the Commonwealth Games and the first of five Jamaican national titles in the 100 meters in 2004.
After graduating from Barton County Community College in 2003, Campbell transferred to UA. In 2004, she finished second in the sixty meters at the Southeastern Conference (SEC) Indoor Championships. Next at the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) Indoor Championships, she finished third in the 60 meters but won the 200 meters. Her winning time of 22.43 established a collegiate record. Later, at the SEC Outdoor Championships, she won both the 100 and 200 meters. At the NCAA Outdoor Championships, Campbell anchored UA to a fifth-place finish in the 4×100-meter relay. She did not compete in the 100 or 200 meters at the NCAA Championship because injuries prevented her from participating in the NCAA Regional Championships to qualify for the individual events.
Despite having one year of eligibility remaining at UA, Campbell turned professional after the NCAA Championships. As a professional, she has won ten Jamaican national titles, including four at 100 meters in 2004, 2005, 2007, and 2011; and six at 200 meters in 2004, 2005, 2007, 2008, 2009, and 2011. In the IAAF World Championships, she has won a total of eleven medals, including gold medals in the 60 meters indoors in 2010 and 2012; the 100 meters in 2007, and the 200 meters in 2011; and silver medals in the 100 meters in 2005 and 2011, the 200 meters in 2007, and the 4×100-meter relay in 2005, 2007, 2009, and 2011.
In the Olympic Games, she won silver medals for the 4×100-meter relay in 2000, 2012, and 2016; gold medals in the 200 meters in 2004 and 2008; a gold medal in the 4×100-meter relay in 2004; and bronze medals in the 100 meters in 2004 and 2012. Her gold medal in the 200 meters in 2008 made her at that time the second athlete of either sex to win consecutive Olympic titles at the distance.
She won a silver medal in the 200 meters in the Commonwealth Games in 2006 and, on May 31, 2011, established the world record of 9.91 for 100 yards en route to a personal best of 10.76 for 100 meters in Ostrava, Czech Republic.
She graduated from UA with a bachelor’s degree in marketing in 2006 and married Omar Brown, a Jamaican sprinter and UA alumni, in 2007.
Ranked first in the world in the 100 meters in 2005 and 2007 and first in the 200 meters in 2004, 2008, and 2011 by Track and Field News, Campbell-Brown belongs to both the Barton County Community College and UA halls of fame. In 2008, Campbell-Brown served as the flag-bearer of the Jamaican Olympic Team and, in 2009, was appointed as a UNESCO Goodwill Ambassador. She is the founder and chairman of the Veronica Campbell-Brown Foundation, which provides support to schoolchildren in Jamaica.
For additional information:
Mahler, Charlie. “Jamaica’s New Sprint Aces.” Track and Field News (December 2004): 22–23.
Veronica Campbell-Brown. http://www.veronicacampbellbrown.com/ (accessed November 9, 2021).
“Veronica Campbell-Brown” International Association of Athletics Federations. https://worldathletics.org/athletes/-/14285598?competitorid=14285598&competitorid=14285598&competitorid=14285598&competitorid=14285598&counrty=-&counrty=-&counrty=-&counrty=-&competitorid=14285598&counrty=- (accessed November 9, 2021).
Adam R. Hornbuckle
Spring Hill, Tennessee
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