Kingston, 23 April 2021 – The Minister of Culture, Gender, Entertainment and Sport, the Honourable Olivia Grange, has said that sadly the race of life is finished for Dennis Johnson and the nation must say goodbye to its first world record holder in the short sprint.
Dennis Johnson, passed away on Thursday night, April 22, 2021, at the age of 81.
Minister Grange said:
“He never set a world record. But, in a six-week period in 1961 he equaled the 100-yards world record on all of three occasions. This was but one measure of the man Dennis Johnson, who was honoured with the Order of Distinction in 2001.
“The passing of Dennis has closed the chapter on one who made an iconic contribution to the development of track and field in Jamaica not only as a sprinter himself but also through his efforts to develop other sprinters to world class standards right here at home. It was the genesis that changed us from the thinking that our athletes had to go abroad to become the best that they could.
“It is with irony, that we recall that it was the then Principal of the College of Arts, Science, and Technology, Dr Rae Davis, who himself died a few days ago, who invited Dennis to establish a collegiate sports programme at the institution.
“The records show Dennis as serving as the first director of sports at CAST which later became the University of Technology, Chairman of the Sports Advisory Council, adjunct associate professor of sport science and head of the special projects for intercollegiate sports.
“His work at UTech as an administrator and coach has come to be regarded as a fundamental contributing factor to Jamaica’s consistent top performances in world sprinting.
"As I express my condolences to Dennis’ sons Peter and Johnny and his daughter Dawn, his friends and associates as well as the track and field community, I must also say how disappointed I feel that Dennis did not live to see the documentary on his life that has been commissioned by my Ministry to be produced by Clyde McKenzie, media and entertainment specialist.
“Dennis was a jovial, sharp witted person, who thought the only thing that he could do better than sprinting was to play dominoes. He was well liked and will be missed not just in sport circles but by the many who knew him or learnt of his exploits.
“Your record on the track has its own very special place in the history of track and field in Jamaica, Dennis Johnson. Rest in peace.”