Veronica Campbell-Brown grew up in a small Jamaican village, and showed her strong athleticism by winning gold early in the World Youth Games while she was still in high school. She scored big in the 2005 and 2007 World Championships, with silver and gold medals in the 100 meter, 200 meter and 4-by-100 meter relays. She went on to compete in the 2000 Olympic Games, winning a silver medal in the 4-by-100-meter relay. She then won back-to-back gold medal titles in the 200-meter at the 2004 and 2008 Olympic Games, as well as a gold in the 4-by-100 meter relay and a bronze in the 100-meter in 2004. At the 2012 Olympic Games in London, Campbell-Brown won her sixth Olympic medal, a bronze, in the 100 meter.
Veronica Campbell-Brown was born on May 15, 1982, into a large family of nine brothers and sisters. Her parents, Cecil Campbell and Pamella Bailey had virtually no athletic background. The little community of Clarks Town, Jamaica, where she grew up, had no athletic facilities to give budding athletes a head start. In her own words, Veronica Campbell exercised sheer determination, natural talent and hard work to achieve her success.
Campbell showed early promise in athletics sprinting to victory barefoot during a school sports day. Her grade school athleticism and high academic marks parlayed into a scholarship at one of Jamaica's prestigious schools, Vere Technical High School in Jamaica.
In 1999, while still in high school, Campbell won two gold medals for the 100-meter sprint and 4-by-100 relay at the IAAF World Youth Games in Bydgoszcz, Poland.
In 2000, Campbell attended Barton County Community College in Great Bend, Kansas. She started off the year winning junior college titles in the 60-, 100- and 200-meter races. She then won a silver medal at the Sydney Olympics, anchoring the second leg of the 4-by-100 meter relay. She capped off the year with wins in the 100-meter and 200-meter sprints at the World Junior Championships, held in Santiago, Chile.
Campbell graduated from Barton with a 3.8 GPA in 2000, and enrolled at the University of Arkansas, where she excelled as a member of the sprint squad. At the 2004 Athens Olympics, she was eager to equal or better her last Olympic effort. In the 100 meters, she could only muster a bronze medal. However, two days later, she won gold medals in both the 200-meter sprint and the 4-by-100 relay, making her the most successful Caribbean athlete at a single Olympic Games.
Over the next three years, Campbell achieved several major accomplishments. In the 2005 World Championships in Finland, she won silver medals in the 100 meter and the 4-by-100 relay. In 2006, she graduated from the University of Arkansas with a bachelor's degree. In 2007, she scored big at the World Championships with a gold medal in the 100 meter, and silver medals in the 200 meter and 4-by-100 relay. That same year, she married Omar Brown, a fellow Jamaican sprinter and University of Arkansas alumnus.
At the opening ceremony of the 2008 Olympics in Beijing, China, Campbell-Brown was honored with carrying the Jamaican flag during the opening ceremonies. In the first round of the 4-by-100 relays, the Jamaican team did well, beating out Russia, Germany and China and holding the fastest time in the preliminary heats. However, the elation didn't last long. In the final, the team muffed a baton exchange and did not finish. In the 200-meter sprint, Campbell-Brown achieved a personal best time of 21.74 seconds and a gold medal, becoming only the second woman in Olympic history to successfully defend a 200-meter title.
In 2009, Campbell-Brown was honored when she was appointed as a UNESCO Goodwill Ambassador, a role she has used to advocate gender equity in sports.
Campbell-Brown continued to work hard and in 2010, she won her first World Indoor 60-meter gold medal (and did so again in 2012) and scored another gold in the 200 meter at the World Championships, finishing the season with world-leading times in both the 100-meter and 200-meter sprints. In the 2011 World Championships, she won the silver medal in the women's 100-meter sprint in a photo finish, only .08 seconds behind Carmelita Jeter, and later went on to win her first 200-meter world title.
In June 2012, Campbell-Brown qualified for the 2012 Olympic Games in London, in both the 100-meter and 200-meter sprints, facing rivals Shelly-Ann Fraser Pryce, Allyson Felix, Sanya Richards-Ross and Sherone Simpson. She failed to defend her 200 title, however, placing fourth in the race, behind Carmelita Jeter (bronze), Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce (silver) and Allyson Felix (gold). Campbell-Brown didn't leave London empty-handed, though; she won her sixth Olympic medal, a bronze, in the 100-meter sprint.
In June 2013 Campbell-Brown tested positive for a banned substance that fell under the doping category. She denied taking the substance intentionally (the substance was found in a cream she used for an injury) and was later cleared by the Jamaica Athletics Administrative Association and the International Association of Athletics Federations.
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