Jamaica's favourite sports are soccer and cricket. Introduced by the British in the 19th century, cricket quickly rose in popularity. Many captains of the West Indies cricket team have come from Jamaica. In the mid-1990s, however, Jamaica's national soccer team, the Reggae Boyz, became the first team from an English-speaking Caribbean nation to qualify for the World Cup finals. This achievement has made the sport's popularity rival cricket's. Another popular sport is horseracing, which employs a lot of Jamaicans.

Enthusiastic athletes, Jamaicans have also made significant achievements in boxing, cycling, weightlifting, track and field, and football (soccer). The women's netball and field hockey teams have consistently ranked among the world's top teams. Jamaica even managed to send a bobsled team to the 1988 Calgary Winter Olympics; the team has performed increasingly well in the Olympics since then. In particular, Jamaican athletes have excelled at track and field. Sprinters Arthur Wint and Herb McKinley won three medals at the 1948 Olympics, the first year Jamaica entered the games. Since then, Jamaica's Olympic success in track has been added to by many other athletes, including Merlene Ottey and Don Quarrie.

Relaxation in Jamaica comes in many forms, from a day at the beach or a walk through the foothills of the Blue Mountains. Children enjoy watching television, playing electronic games and basketball. Adults like listening to sports broadcasts, music and watching television, and younger Jamaicans especially love dancing. A favourite game among men is dominoes, played with passion in rum bars and cafés. Jamaicans often visit public libraries and museums. Reading is a popular pastime, especially books by Jamaican and West Indian authors.

  Did you know?
Jamaican Courtenay Walsh was captain of the West Indies cricket team and has played more matches (500 wickets) than any other bowler in the history of cricket.

  Did you know?
Jamaica's bobsled team is the subject of the comic Walt Disney movie Cool Runnings.