Monday, August 25, 2008
MAN WITH A PURPOSE!
Usain Bolt, as he posed for a picture in front of the National Stadium, also known as the Bird's Nest, ahead of the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games August 5, 2008.
- CHINA DAILY
Ambassador Wayne McCook with Sports Minister Babsy Grange at a party held on Sunday Aug 24 in honour of our athletes.
by Jean Lowrie-Chin from Beijing
Monday, August 25, 2008
"Double Bolt!" reads the cover of the China Daily Olympic special. In the store, a lady points to our Jamaica shirt and says, "Bolt! We love him." The hotel bellhop proudly gestures with his Jamaica key ring and says the one English word that is reverberating across China - "Bolt!"
Not to be left out, today's China Daily proclaimed, "Veronica keeps Jamaica on top". Veronica's victory sealed the deal - we are the undisputed sprint champions of the world. On Thursday night alone, Jamaica's National Anthem rang out three times in Beijing's Bird's Nest Stadium. To see our Olympic stars storm past their rivals and finish to the roar of the Jamaica-crazy crowd, to witness the presentation of medals, and our flag waving its lively black-green-gold to the thousands in the stadium and the millions across the world, to be congratulated incessantly: this has been our heady Beijing experience.
Wayne McCook, Jamaica's Ambassador to China, has been deluged with calls from the press about his country's awesome performance. "They ask, 'How can this be?'" McCook relates. "I explain to them that our athletes come from a long and deep tradition in track and field, close to a century old." He has been telling the international media that in 1911, a schoolboy named Norman Washington Manley at Jamaica College held the world record for the 100 yards event! He said that when Jamaica arrived on the world stage of the Olympics in Helsinki in 1948, and London in 1952, we made our presence felt. "Now we're at the pinnacle," he exulted.
Ambassador McCook began his tour of duty in China in July 2005, at a time when the country had made their hosting of the 2008 Olympics a national priority. For Jamaica to be headlining these Olympics, he says it has made our country's name instantly recognisable to the majority of China's 1.3 billion people.
Ambassador McCook's staff has been kept busy with arrangements for our Olympic Team and officials, and he has high praises for Julia Hyatt, Pauline Gordon, Keera Clarke-Mills, and his dedicated local staff. He says that there are about 100 Jamaicans living in China.
I spoke briefly with one of them, artist Courtney Hogarth, whose work was on show at the Olympics Fine Art Exhibition. The Clarendon College and School of Art graduate moved here nine years ago and now holds a PhD in Chinese Painting from the Central Academy of Fine Arts in Beijing. "I had an interest in Chinese culture," said Courtney. "I also have Jamaican-Chinese family - the Nams, Lees and Hughs."
Courtney says he is getting calls and emails from all over China, his friends marvelling at the prowess of his countrymen. He says China has had a fascination for our athletes, noting that when he arrived here, the name Merlene Ottey was more known in China than Bob Marley. "Now the name they will be calling for a long time will be Usain Bolt."
You can imagine the anticipation of my husband and me, after years of planning, to be finally attending an Olympics.
But never in our wildest dreams could we have thought that almost every single day since we have been at these Games, we would see Jamaicans electrify the Beijing National Stadium with such brilliance. Daily we Jamaicans dress in our colours and line up with the thousands from around the world to enter the Bird's Nest. With every passing day, the commendations multiply as fans call out to us, "Jamaica!" and give us the thumbs up.
We watch the athletes enter the stadium and take their places, we watch them dominate and we watch the world's media converge on them with masses of cameras and microphones. Back at the hotel, China TV is playing and replaying Bolt's glorious triple-Gold, triple world record.
On CNN, on BBC, on the Internet, Jamaica's name reigns.
"You a go tired fi see mi face/can't get me outa the race," sang Bob Marley. But guess what, they are not tired! The fans can't seem to get enough of us. So what now, Jamaica? What do we do now with this precious gift of our celebrity, handed to us on a golden platter by Usain, Veronica, Shelley-Ann and Melaine, Nesta Carter, Michael Frater and Asafa Powell? How do we transform this unprecedented popularity and goodwill into a peaceful, productive and prosperous country?
We will have to be like the team and the officials whom we sent to Beijing. Our athletes have been disciplined and well trained, their bodies honed for optimum efficiency. Our Olympics officials led by Don Anderson are the most generous individuals you can find. They are for the most part volunteers who have been teacher, counsellor, father and mother to the team. Our coaches are also now the stuff of legend - Glen Mills and Stephen Francis are homegrown gentlemen with stout hearts, fine minds and unyielding standards.
Those gratuitous reports, giving racist undertones to our performance, would want to dismiss out of hand, decades of dedication during which Jamaica built an athletics programme that would develop talent from primary school, through to high, through to club and college. I have seen the JAAA officials at such meets, ensuring that the most stringent IAAF rules are observed by even our youngest athletes.
Add that to a country that has been in the forefront of liberation and civil rights struggles and which has kept its democratic process intact, and you get young people with ability, discipline and spirit. Yes, Mr Rogge, it is called spirit.
That is what our Usain Bolt has. We are not a bland, sedate people. Our Marcus Garvey inspired the USA Civil Rights Movement and the self-determination of many African nations. We love to dance and sing, and as Michael Rosenberg said in the Detroit Free Press, "Nobody jams like the Jamaicans."
Jamaica, we now have the best opportunity to show the world that we can do in every other part of our national life, what we did on the track. Let's put all who would be leaders out there under starter's orders, let them run without the masks of trappings and connections, let us test them for the highest ethics. We demanded this of our athletes, and they delivered. We must now demand this of ourselves. Do not let this glorious day pass, for it may never come again.
Sunday, August 24, 2008
I was lucky to meet Bryan Clay, US Gold Medal Decathlete. A humble, polite young man. He is at our hotel with his family - his parents are the same mix as Tiger Woods'. But guess what - our Usain is THE man at the Olympics!
Bolt leaves U.S. decathlon gold in the dust
By LYNN ZINSER, New York Times
Last update: August 22, 2008 - 8:38 PM
BEIJING -- The contrast between the events could not have been more stark, coming as they did right after each other Friday night at the Olympic stadium. Jamaica's Asafa Powell flew past the finish line with the final leg of an amazing world record in the 4x100-meter relay, his teammate Usain Bolt soaring after him to celebrate.
But for all the speed and joy of the fastest set of men on Earth, they followed an event that is much less appreciated in the United States and almost unimaginably grueling. American Bryan Clay's triumphant moment in the decathlon came after he all but staggered across the finish line at the end of the 1,500 meters. The track announcer greeted him with the news that he was the Olympic champion, to which Clay responded by pitching forward onto the track.
"I'd love for this to be a spark for the decathlon and bring it back to the forefront of track and field," said Clay, whose 8,791 points outdistanced the silver medalist, Alexander Pogorelov of Russia, who had 8,551. "We've got the title of world's greatest athlete, and it's back on U.S. soil. I don't know about anybody else, but it means something to me."
Clay became the first American decathlete since Dan O'Brien in 1996 to win the gold medal, but he ceded the spotlight to Bolt, the world's fastest man, who snared his third gold medal of the Games and helped break a third world record.
Bolt, who had astonishing performances in winning the 100 and 200, ran the third leg of the relay Friday as if fired from a cannon. By the time Bolt passed the baton, the only question was by how much the Jamaicans would break the record. Their time of 37.10 seconds sliced an unfathomable 0.30 seconds from the mark. Trinidad and Tobago snatched the silver, and Japan grabbed a surprising bronze.
"You really can't explain what has happened here," Bolt said. "It's just a great feeling. This is what we've all been working for."
We're now enroute to a Party hosted by Minister of Sports Babsy Grange in honour of the Team at 'The Beach'.
Just met US Decathlon Gold Medallist Bryant Clay in the hotel lobby. What a humble, sweet guy - got a great photo with him - will post later.
Saturday, August 23, 2008
Usain's golden shoes will now go into the Puma museum.
The MC has just hailed Usain as "the fastest Jamaican AND the world fastest man!l
As I blog, Usain is on the stage dropping some serious dancehall moves much to the delight of his screaming fans.
Just hailed up Ambassador Wayne McCook, JOA Pres Mike Fennell and his wife Peggy and Johnny Leiba who told me there are 9 Jago athletes on the team.
Hubie is taking photos - will post later!
Friday, August 22, 2008
|Here I am with Asafa's brother Donovan, himself a former 100m world record holder (left of flag), Shelly-Ann's Mom holding flag and Asafa's Dad at right - was a balmy evening in Beijing! - Hubie Chin photo|
"Asafa is going to be okay now," he said. " You watch and see."
The Beijing Stadium erupted once again as we saw two flying men in the 4x100 Relay - Usain and Asafa, going where no human had gone before, winning by the widest margin since the 1936 Olympics!
Our awesome foursome have run themselves into the history books and the Lightning Bolt has struck thrice!
Thursday, August 21, 2008
Veronica Campbell-Brown celebates after winning the women's 200m yesterday. AFP
Updated: 2008-08-22 06:50
Veronica Campbell-Brown continued Jamaica's domination of the Olympic sprint events by retaining her 200m title last night.
The 25-year-old's comfortable victory means Jamaica has won four golds, a silver and two bronzes in both the men's and women's 100m and 200m events, in a battle for supremacy with the much-vaunted US track team.
The Jamaican, who won 100m gold and 200m silver at last year's World Championships in Osaka, clocked a personal best of 21.74 sec to finish ahead of American Allyson Felix (21.93 sec).
Jamaican Kerron Stewart pipped American Muna Lee at the line in 22 sec for bronze.
"I am very happy," said Campbell-Brown. "It's great to come out and defend my gold medal. It's been great to see Jamaica get a clean sweep of the sprints. Now I have to concentrate on the relays."
Campbell-Brown bolted out of her blocks and immediately gained on Felix. She powered through the first 50m and had the psychological nudge on Felix coming around the bend. She was 2m clear of the field, with Stewart neck-and-neck with Felix for second spot.
But no one could catch Campbell-Brown whose fluid style saw her coast through to the finish line.
excerpt from article re Jacques Rogge, IOC Chairman, criticizing Usain Bolt for ‘showboating’
“That’s not the way we perceive being a champion,” Rogge said of the Jamaican sprinter. “I have no problem with him doing a show. I think he should show more respect for his competitors and shake hands, give a tap on the shoulder to the other ones immediately after the finish and not make gestures like the one he made in the 100 meters.”
Oh, this is richer than those bribes and kickbacks the IOC got caught taking.
All the powerful nations — including the United States — have carte blanche at the Games. They can pout and preen, cheat, throw bean balls, file wild complaints, break promises that got them a host bid, whatever they want. They can take turns slapping Rogge and his cronies around like rag dolls as long as the dinner with a good wine list gets paid.
A single individual sprinter? Even if you don’t like his manner, that’s whom Rogge deems it necessary to attack, to issue a worldwide condemnation?
“I understand the joy,” Rogge said. “He might have interpreted that in another way, but the way it was perceived was ‘catch me if you can.’ You don’t do that. But he’ll learn. He’s still a young man.”
Perceived by whom? Old fat cats making billions of Olympic dollars on the backs of athletes like Bolt for a century now? They get to define this? They get to lecture about learning?
Bolt is everything the Olympics are supposed to be about. He isn’t the product of some rich country, some elaborate training program that churns out gold medals by any means necessary.
He’s a breath of fresh air, a guy who came out of nowhere to enrapture the world with his athletic performance and colorful personality. This is no dead-eye product of some massive machine.
He was himself, and the world loved him for it.
On his own force of will, Bolt has become the break-out star of these Games. He saved the post-Michael Phelps Olympics. It wasn’t so much his world-record times, but the flair, the fun.
No one at the track had a problem with this guy; they understood he is everything the sport needs to recover from an era of extreme doping. The Lightning Bolt made people care about track again, something that seemed impossible two weeks ago.
“I don’t feel like he’s being disrespectful,” American Shawn Crawford told the Associated Press. “He deserves to dance.”
Also we have the Men's 110m hurdles with Maurice Wignall and Ricardo Phillips.
Usain Bolt receives his Gold tonight - 'Jamaica Land We Love' will ring out in Beijing!
One Love One Heart
Jean 'Happy to be in Beijing' Lowrie-Chin
Photo - China Daily
John Crumpacker, Chronicle Staff Writer
Thursday, August 21, 2008
(08-21) 04:00 PDT Beijing --
Michael Phelps, meet Usain Bolt. What you do in the water, he does on land.
The only difference is, Bolt has fewer events to dominate and fewer world records to destroy. First the 100 meters in 9.69 seconds. Now the 200 in 19.30.
He has one event left in these Beijing Olympics, the 4x100 relay Friday night. The world record is 37.40 by two U.S. teams, in 1992 and '93. A 2007 Jamaican foursome including Bolt ran 37.89.
"I'm looking forward to the 4x100," Bolt said. "I have one (race) to go. I have to refocus again to get one more gold medal."
In seasons to come, could the 400 meters be next for this prototype sprinter for the 21st century, 6-foot-5 with a track-eating long stride and the ability to turn his feet over as fast as his shorter competitors?
"I don't want to say anything too serious because my coach might want me to run 400 meters," Bolt said. "Anything is possible if I put my mind to it. I'm not worried about that now. Don't hold your breath. I don't think I'll be going up to the 400 anytime soon."
American Michael Johnson, who lost his 200-meter world record to Bolt on Wednesday night at the Bird's Nest, can breathe easily. For now, anyway, Johnson's world record of 43.18 in the 400 is safe from an assault by Bolt.
If ever a moniker suited the man, it is Usain Bolt. He struck twice here, first on Saturday when he toyed with the 100-meter field like a cat pawing at a mouse and still set a world record with his 9.69 time.
In the 200, he took a serious mien to the starting blocks in what is his favorite race. For someone so tall, Bolt exploded from the blocks, ran the turn hard and pressed the issue down the straight with the effort clearly visible on his face.
The clock stopped at 19.31, adjusted seconds later to 19.30. Bolt dropped supine on the red track and covered his face with his hands when he saw the time.
"The 200 has been my love since I was 15," he said. "I was the youngest ever to win World Juniors. It means a lot to me. It's dear to my heart. The 200 means more to me than the 100."
Johnson's world record 19.32 from the Atlanta Olympics lasted a dozen years. Bolt drew instant comparison to another Michael, swim czar Phelps.
"My name is Lightning Bolt," he said. "I won't compare myself to Michael Phelps. To win eight gold medals, that's great. I'm on the track and he's in the water. You can't compare the two."
After the race, Bolt spoke to the prime minister of his country, Bruce Golding, who told him virtually everyone in Jamaica was in the streets celebrating. Jamaicans at the track said much the same thing, that the country came to a standstill to watch or listen to Bolt's epic achievement.
The man who turned 22 as Wednesday night segued into this morning had his entire nation of 2.7 million riveted.
"People are just cooling," said Bert Cameron, a 400-meter runner who won Jamaica's first world championship in 1983. "There's nothing on the roads before the race was run. Everybody is looking on TV. Every single soul in Jamaica loves track and field. Every single person, from the youngest to the oldest, they're sitting down saying, 'Yes, mon.' "
Cameron, a coach in Jamaica, said he first met Bolt when he was a tall, skinny youngster of 12.
"He ran 52-flat (for the 400) on a grass track," Cameron said. "Not like grass in Europe. Grass with ruts."
While many astute track people thought Johnson's world record would last well into the 21st century, in Jamaica folks knew better.
"We knew it was coming," Cameron said. "This, and better to come."
Now, there's a scary thought, but probably a realistic one. Bolt has the prime of his career still to come. If anything derails him, it could be his junk food diet. To fuel up for both his world-record dashes, Bolt said, he ate Chicken McNuggets from the McDonald's at the Olympic Village.
Like Phelps, who shovels in all manner of food to keep from losing weight, Bolt is at an age when he can be cavalier about nutrition.
"You want the truth?" Bolt said. "I got up at 12. My masseuse brought me nuggets, of course. I'm serious. I didn't want to go to the cafeteria. I went straight to the track and my masseuse brought me more nuggets."
Alas, poor Jesse Owens never had an opportunity to power up on nuggets when he became the fifth man in Olympic history to win the 100 and 200 meters at the same Games , in 1936. Bolt is the ninth man to win both sprints at the same Olympics but the first to break world records in both.
One interested spectator at the Bird's Nest on Wednesday night was Renaldo Nehemiah, the onetime 49ers wide receiver and former world-record holder in the 110-meter hurdles. Nehemiah dabbled in the 200 during his track career and had a personal best of 20.26.
"I thought he robbed us of another great performance (in the 100) because I thought he could run 9.50," said Nehemiah, now an agent representing U.S. sprinter Allyson Felix, among others. "I'm so pleased. I thought, if he runs, if he truly runs, this is his Olympic Games. It's magical. None of us thought world record. I thought 19.55, 19.52."
In his record run at Atlanta in 1996, Johnson clocked 10.12 seconds for the first 100 and 9.20 for the second. Splits were not immediately available on Bolt's dash to history, but his opening 100 was probably faster than Johnson's was in Atlanta.
"I assume his first 100 had to be faster than Michael," Nehemiah said. "A 6-5 sprinter with cat-like feet, and the turnover to match the smaller guys, if he has the same tempo and takes nine-foot strides, it's ridiculous. You just can't match it."
None did. After lane violations disqualified the initial runner-up, Churandy Martina (19.82) of Netherlands Antilles, and the third-placer, Wallace Spearmon (19.95) of the U.S., Americans Shawn Crawford (19.96) and Walter Dix (19.98) moved up to the silver and bronze medals.
"He's bad. He broke the 100-meter record, the 200-meter record," Crawford said. "I'm serious, he's bad. The guy came out and made this the best Olympics of my lifetime."
Half-laps in a hurry
The top 10 200-meter times.
19.30 - Usain Bolt (Jamaica), 2008. Beijing
19.32 - Michael Johnson (U.S.), 1996, Atlanta
19.62 - Tyson Gay (U.S.), 2007, Indianapolis
19.63 - Xavier Carter (U.S.), 2006, Lausanne, Switzerland
19.65 - Wallace Spearmon (U.S.), 2006, Daegu, South Korea
19.66 - Johnson, 1996, Atlanta
19.67 - Bolt, 2008, Athens
19.68 - Frankie Fredericks (Namibia), 1996, Atlanta
19.69 - Walter Dix (U.S.), 2007, Gainesville, Fla.
19.72 - Pietro Mennea (Italy), 1979, Mexico City
Men who have won the 100 and 200 at the same Games.
1904 - Archie Hahn (U.S.) 11.0/21.6
1912 - Ralph Craig (U.S.) 10.8/21.7
1928 - Percy Williams (Canada) 10.8/21.8
1932 - Eddie Tolan (U.S.) 10.3/21.2
1936 - Jesse Owens (U.S.) 10.3/20.7
1956 - Bobby Morrow (U.S.) 10.5/20.6
1972 - Valeriy Borzov (U.S.S.R.) 10.14/20.00
1984 - Carl Lewis (U.S.) 9.99/19.80
2008 - Usain Bolt (Jamaica) 9.69/19.30
E-mail John Crumpacker at firstname.lastname@example.org.
This article appeared on page D - 1 of the San Francisco Chronicle
Wednesday, August 20, 2008
China Daily/The Olympian
Updated: 2008-08-20 10:33
Bolt set the 91,000-capacity National Stadium alight on Saturday when he broke his own record in the shorter sprint in 9.69sec.
As he side-stepped his way into the record books in the Bird's Nest Saturday, he rewrote the limits of human capability. A time of 9.69sec barely told the whole story. After all, it is only 0.03 off his old mark, but it was the extravagant
The 1.96m giant, who turns 22 on Thursday, reduced the seven other fastest men in the world to extras in a dance routine as he turned sideways on to the stands and pranced across the line. The question now being asked is what the 21-year-old Jamaican can do to the record in the 200m, an event that he sees as his main discipline, when he races for the gold tonight.
"I was trying to see if I could take all the rounds," Bolt said after his 100m triumph.
"I've shown I can take it so I'm going to run the 200m.
"I'm not really worried about world records," he added. "I'm just coming here to win. That's the aim for me."
That's not to say he will not give it a full shot.
"It's my last individual event and I want to leave it on the track," Bolt said ahead of the semi-finals.
As well as revising records, Bolt has changed the perception of what a sprinter should be. While Johnson was a more conventional compact size, Bolt is outsize in every sense. When both he and compatriot Asafa Powell came off the track through the mixed zone, the normally powerful Powell was made to look diminutive by the younger man.
Over the longer sprint, Bolt is unbeaten and possesses the three fastest times in the world this year.
His 19.67sec time in
In those runs - and as was clear in his 100m performance at the Beijing Games - Bolt seems to hold some in reserve, which also raises the prospect of him being a real challenge to American Michael Johnson's world record of 19.32sec, set at the 1996 Atlanta Games.
Bolt's main rival will likely be American Walter Dix, the bronze medallist in the 100m who beat defending Olympic champion Shawn Crawford at the
"I'm going to get ready for the 200m," said Dix after setting a personal best of 9.91sec in the 100m.
"I'm quite proud of the result but I know I have much more to do."
Crawford, who beat drugs-tainted compatriot Justin Gatlin to 200m gold in the Athens Games four years ago, has not shone on the international stage since, but has recently hit some good form.
American teammate Wallace Spearmon, who has won a 2005 silver and a 2007 bronze medal in the event and finished 0.04sec behind Dix and Crawford at the
Among other potential rivals are Churandy Martina of the Dutch Antilles, who impressed in finishing fourth in the 100m at 9.93sec.
Martina said his performances in the 100m had given him heart.
"I improved my personal best three times and there's no better place to do that than right here."
Richard Thompson, the 100m silver medalist from
"I could feel myself pulling away from the rest (of the field] and I could see him slowing down, but I'm still pumping to the line," he said.
The semifinals took place last night and the finals are scheduled tonight. Bolt finished first in his heat in 20.09 sec. Martina won his in 20.11 sec.
Tuesday, August 19, 2008
We know that some will always try to find an easy, gratuitous way to explain away the achievements of developing countries. They do not wish to know that:
* Jamaica has the most comprehensive athletics programme, beginning at primary/prep school - Usain Bolt ran at the National Stadium at age six.
*We have the best local training - our athletes got faster after local coaches like Stephen Francis and Glen Mills created their own regimen so Jamaicans would no longer have to depend on overseas training
* We have a tradition of strong leadership and a secure decades-old democratic system that creates confidence in our people - National Hero Marcus Mosiah Garvey had a membership of 10 million in the UNIA in the 1950s before he was deported on trumped-up charges
* We have hybrid strength - hardly any Jamaican is "pure African". Usain Bolt's Dad is obviously mixed. All the races live harmoniously in Jamaica and have intermarried over the years.
* In the Jamaica Amateur Athletics Association (JAAA) and the Sports Medicine Association of Jamaica, we have the finest set of expert volunteers who have been elected to the highest posts in world bodies. Teddy McCook is now the IAAF Representative for the Western Hemisphere. Mike Fennell was the Chairman of the last Commonwealth Games Organising Committee.
Shericka Williams presented us with yet another Olympic medal - an incredible Silver in the Women's 400 metres! With hot favourites, Christine Ohuruogu who took home the Gold for the UK, and US Jamaican-born Sanya Richards, the best we were hoping for was a bronze. But Shericka ran an intelligent race, stying close to the leaders without pushing herself too early. In final 100 metres she accelerated, powering past Sanya Richards who had gone out too hard and had little left to finish. Result UK Gold, Jamaica Silver and USA Bronze.
110 metres hurdles fianlists did not medal - but remember - being a finalist in the Olympics is a huge achievement, have survived three stages - the heats, the quarter finals and the semi- finals.
In the Men's 200 semis Usain Bolt practically coasted to his win, toying with his competitors. This morning, CNN international said Bolt "strolled through the semi-finals". We cannot wait for tonight!!!
We await with anticipation the Women's 400 metres Final and the Women's 100m hurdles Final.
We have two finalists in each event - 400m Shericka Williams and Rosemarie White; 100m Hurdles Bridgette Foster-Hylton and Delloreen Ennis London - this is already a fantastic achievement.
Another proud moment was seeing Saladino of Panama receive his country's first ever Gold Medal.
The Black Green and Gold flags are in evidence - fingers crossed - pray!!!
Monday, August 18, 2008
KINGSTON: Shelly-Ann Fraser can thank her mother's uneasy relationship with the Jamaican police for helping her become an Olympic sprint champion.
Maxine Fraser, who brought up her daughter in one of the Caribbean's meanest ghettos, believes her quickfire genes have been passed on to the 21-year-old, who led a Jamaican clean sweep in the 100m final in Beijing on Sunday.
Maxine has had to live on her wits all of her life and working as a street vendor she regularly has to put in a blinding turn of pace if police are chasing her for illegal trading.
"This is to show that something good can come out of the ghetto. Ghetto can't hold you back as long as you have ambition," said Maxine after watching her daughter take gold.
For Fraser, Olympic success will guarantee an escape from the island's grinding poverty.
Her family still lives in a tenement yard in one of Jamaica's toughest inner-city communities known as Waterhouse.
It is a place where zinc fences, bad roads and high levels of crime are a feature.
The young sprinter does not live there in Waterhouse now. She boards at the University of Technology, where she is a second-year student.
Education and sporting prowess are seen as keys to a better life.
"In school many people see track as a means of gaining an academic scholarship. There is also more to it," said high-school coach Michael Oliviera, who trained Olympic medallists Winthrop Graham and Deon Hemmings.
"If an athlete is able to balance track with studies the rewards are great. One good season on the track and you are OK."
It's been estimated that Asafa Powell, the former world record holder who was fifth behind compatriot Usain Bolt in the men's 100m in China, made approximately $1.5 million from the track in 2006.
Jamaica's track program starts as early as the kindergarten level with children as young as four running in championships at the country's national stadium.
Sprint queen Merlene Ottey, who now runs for Slovenia, first ran at a girls' championship barefooted before she reached her teens.
Ottey, along with the likes of Juliet Cuthbert, Herb McKenley, Bert Cameron and Donald Quarrie have all helped to hoist the Jamaican flag.
But it was not until Jamaica's dominance in the short sprints that the world was forced to take a serious look at the Caribbean country.
As always, however, there have been questions over what fuels the recent successes.
Adrian Lorde, head of the Caribbean Regional Anti-Doping Organization, recently lambasted Jamaica for not doing enough doping tests.
However, locals have scoffed at suggestions that drugs may be the reason for the country's recent success.
In fact, many argue that the heavy consumption of yam, banana and breadfruit have helped power the sprinters.
(China Daily 08/19/2008 page7)
Sunday, August 17, 2008
Happy Birthday Marcus Mosiah Garvey!
It is Monday in Beijing, but still Sunday, August 17, in Jamaica where we are also celebrating the birthday of the Rt Hon. Marcus Mosiah Garvey, National Hero and founder of the UNIA, the powerful Black organisation which inspired the great Black leaders of America including Dr Martin Luther King Jr.
I want to believe that our Gold and Silver medals are special birthday gifts to this great Jamaican who declared, "Up you mighty race, you can accomplish what you will!"
Below are a poem and quote by Marcus Mosiah from
www.marcusgarvey.com- now you know why Bolt is so cool!
Suns have set and suns will rise
Upon many gloomy lives;
Those who sit around and say:
" Nothing good comes down our way."
Some say: "What's the use to try,
Life is awful hard and dry."
If they'd bring such news to you,
This is what you ought to do.
Let no trouble worry you;
Keep cool, keep cool!
Don't get hot like some folk do,
Keep cool, keep cool!
What's the use of prancing high
While the world goes smiling by.
You can win if you would try,
Keep cool, keep cool.
-- Marcus Garvey
“So few of us can understand what it takes to make a man - the man who will never say die; the man who will never give up; the man who will never depend upon others to do for him what he ought to do for himself; the man who will not blame God, who will not blame Nature, who will not blame Fate for his condition; but the man who will go out and make conditions to suit himself.”
With great nation-builders like Marcus Mosiah Garvey, no wonder Jamaicans are so confident!
It was Marcus that Bob Marley quoted when he sang, "Emancipate yourself from mental slavery - none but ourselves can free our minds."
One Love, One Heart
From Detroit Free Press
BY MICHAEL ROSENBERG • FREE PRESS COLUMNIST •
August 17, 2008 BEIJING –- Sometime today, American sprinters should corner the Jamaicans in the athletes' village and demand that they jump in a pool. What else can the U.S. do?
The Olympics have shifted from swimming to track, and the Bird's Nest has been a Hornet's Nest for the Americans.
First Jamaica's Usain Bolt won the men's 100 while running the last 20 meters on his hands. Then, today in the women's 100, the Americans had to look up at the scoreboard and see this:
Nobody jams like the Jamaicans. This is true in the sprints, after the sprints and as far as I can tell, in life. I've heard a lot of athletes say they are "just happy to be here."
I've never seen anybody show it like Bolt and Shelly-Ann Fraser, the women's champion.After crossing the finish line, Fraser jumped up and down while she was still in fifth gear. She wrapped herself in her flag. If she stopped at all, it was only to pen a reggae song about her accomplishment.
Meanwhile, Lauryn Williams stood on the track and stared, and I was sure she was staring at Fraser's celebration. But Williams, who spent a good portion of her childhood in Detroit, said afterward that she was just trying to see where she finished. (The scoreboards are often in Chinese.)
Williams knew there was a photo finish and thought she was part of it.
No such luck. Williams, who win silver in Athens in 2004, finished fourth. "I got on that line to win," Williams said. "At the end of the day, I'm not upset. I put my heart on the track. It wasn't a stellar time for me either, but I did well today."
The photo finish was between Jamaica's Sherone Simpson and Kerron Stewart for third. Somehow, the Jamaicans did better than sweep. They got a gold and two silvers out of one event.
Did they talk about a sweep beforehand?
"No, we didn't," Simpson said. "But we had the times … it was about time that Jamaica did it."
I don't know if Fraser's celebration was over the top, any more than Bolt's dance around the National Stadium Saturday was over the top. Certainly, it would be hard to argue that it was understated.
But this is Jamaica, mon. It is the island of Rastafarians and Red Stripe beer. Jamaica is known for its fun-loving culture. Did you really think one of the greatest sporting weeks in Jamaican history would be met with polite applause?
The conversation about showboating in sports reminds me of George Carlin's line about driving. Carlin said anybody driving slower than you is an idiot and anybody driving faster than you is a jerk.
I think showboating is like that. Anybody who celebrates too much for your taste is a jerk, and anybody who celebrates too little is dull.
Watching Bolt's race live, I did not for a moment think he was being unsportsmanlike. Yes, he posed beforehand, but half the guys in the race did some sport of pose – that kind of buildup is just part of the men's 100. It's sort of like an underground freestyle rap competition or a heavyweight fight. This is part of its appeal.
When Bolt held his hands out 15 meters from the finish, then pounded his chest as he crossed the line … well, he was amazed, like everybody else in the Bird's Nest. I mean, at least he wasn't running up the score.
While the Jamaican women celebrated Sunday, the American women were miffed. They were sure that Torri Edwards had false-started, but it was not called. Several runners, especially American Muna Lee, got off to slow starts because they were thrown off.
So a race that probably should not have started ended with three Jamaicans on a medal stand. And if you're an American, what's worse than three Jamaicans on a medal stand?
That's right: four Jamaicans on a medal stand. The women's 400 relay final is Friday."We are confident," Simpson said. "I think we are the team to beat."
China Daily photo
We're going crazy in Beijing!! Our girls are 1-2-3 in the 100 metres! Shelley Ann Fraser was vindicated as she stormed to the finish with Sherone Simpson and Kerron Stewart in close pursuit, leaving their competitors in the dust!! The Stadium went wild and everyone was congratulating us. What a glorious Olympics - what a glorious set of girls!!!
STOP PRESS!! It's 1-2-2 - we get one Gold and two Silvers!
90,000 on their feet while Jamaica's flag was proudly raised - sweet!!
Saturday, August 16, 2008
- Michael Dodge photo
Usain Bolt blows 'em away in 100m final
Mike Colman in Beijing | August 17, 2008 12:00am
THE record books will say last night's Olympic men's 100m final lasted 9.69 seconds. They're wrong. It will last for ever in the memory of anyone who saw it.
How can one man - no, make that one kid not yet 22 years-old and as laid-back as a teenager - run that fast? It was a performance that was, at once, staggering and shocking.
Usain Bolt didn't just beat the fastest 100m fields ever assembled. He battered them. Stunned them. Humiliated them.
This, after all, was a young man who didn't even consider himself a specialist 100m runner. The 200m is his race. It is better suited to his long legs and slow wind-up.
That's the theory anyway, a theory that Bolt threw into the top deck of Beijing's Birds Nest in the most extraordinary sprint in history.
It wasn't that he wasn't expected to win. The Jamaican's form in the heats and semi-final in which he seemed to be toying with both his opponents and the stopwatch saw him lining up for the final as hot favourite.
But this was the Olympics. The biggest stage in world sport.
Plus there was the question mark over Bolt's countryman Asafa Powell.
Powell had beaten him last time they ran, just a few weeks ago in Munich. Surely he too was holding something in reserve during the preliminary rounds. After all, this was Powell big chance. His last chance.
Twice in the last four years he had gone in to major championships expected to win. Twice he had come up short. If Jamaicans have an equivalent of the term "choker", that's what Powell faced being called for the rest of his life.
There were others in the field too of course, but not the great American hope Tyson Gay. He failed to make it through the semi-final.
He said he was disappointed, bitter even. After watching what Bolt did to the seven other runners who did make it to the final, he might consider himself lucky.
No-one could have predicted what happened at precisely 10.30pm Beijing time.
It started with the announcer's voice booming around the stadium.
"And now the last event on tonight's programme. The men's 100 metres final."
He could have saved his breath and just used one word. "Showtime."
As Bolt was introduced to the crowd he waved and pretended to pull back an imaginary bow and arrow. He smiled and danced to the music. He was so relaxed he might have been lining up for a race with his mates on a beach back home in Jamiaca.
In comparison his fellow finalists were reserved to the point of appearing scared.
All except for American Walter Dix. With his cornrow braided hair, white framed sunglasses and brash attitude, the former US college champion looked more like we have come to expect from a world class 100 metre sprinter. A combination professional wrestler, rock star and finely tuned machine.
Powell didn't have the confidence or the personality to play any pre-race games. He had what appeared an overly contrived air of indifference. Maybe it was fright.
Maybe he already knew what the rest of us were about to find out. Powell had nothing more to give.
And Bolt? Well, he was just having a ball.
As the rest of the field took their blocks, he continued to stand and rock from side to side in time with the music, a big smile on his face. The race was delayed as the starter waited.
Then the gun went off and it was all over. Bolt kept his big frame hunched for 30 metres then stood and those long legs ate up the track. He didn't just run, he flew.
With two metres left he was so far in front that he spread his arms and lifted his knees, like an NFL star hot-dogging in the in-zone.
He was throwing kisses to the crowd by the time Powell crossed the line, out of the medals.
Then Bolt took off his gold shoes and kissed them.
Look closely at those shoes when you see the photos. Hard believe, but there are no wings.
Bolt literally danced around the Stadium track, waving the flag, draping himself in it, and treating us to a few steps of the "No Linger" dance.
The crowd showered Bolt with pure adulation - imagine, in a few short seconds, Bolt has made homo sapiens faster!
On our way out of the Stadium, we waved our flags and paused to take photos with various fans of Jamaica - Bolt had made us into celebrities.
God bless the good parents from Trelawny that kept their son well grounded and the wonderful guidance of Coach Glen Mills and Manager Norman Peart.
Jamaica's National Anthem will ring out in Beijing - Thank you Usain Bolt for taking us higher!
Asafa and Usain both won their semis in fine style - Bolt made it look like a walk in the Park! My heart went out to Tyson Gay who ran 2nd to last in his semi - so now it's between the two Jamaicans!
Sherrone Simpson, Kerrone Stewart and Shelley Ann Frater all won their quarter finals - fabulous!
Thursday, August 14, 2008
Garden of "Harmony and Glory" in Tian'Anmen Square
Friday, August 8, 2008
Awesome! Beijing 2008 Olympics off with a bang
published Gleaner: Saturday | August 9, 2008
Elton Tucker, Assistant Sport Editor
Veronica Campbell-Brown carries the flag for her country's Olympic team during yesterday's opening ceremony of the 29th Games in Beijing, China. - AP
A spectacular opening ceremony, witnessed by over 90,000 spectators at the Beijing Olympic Stadium, heralded the start of the 29th Olympiad in the Chinese capital last night.
Jamaica, led by flag-bearer Veronica Campbell-Brown, the 2004 200 metres champion, was the 19th country to march into the hot, humid giant stadium known here as the Bird's Nest because of its unique shape.
Teams marched in based on the number of strokes of the names of the National Olympic Committees as written in simplified Chinese characters. Traditionally, however, the previous hosts, Greece, came in first while the current hosts entered the stadium last to tumultuous applause.
There was colour, pageantry and style as China showcased its varied and fine tradition. The hour-long first segment was highlighted by the performances of colourfully dressed dance and drum troupes from all across this vast country.
There were many famous names among the flag-bearers. Tennis star carried the Swiss flag while basketballer Manuel Ginobili was the flag-bearer for Argentina. Other basketball stars featured for their countries. Chinese megastar Yao Ming of the Houston Rockets brought the house down when he entered with the Chinese flag. For Germany it was Dallas Mavericks standout Dirk Nowitski.
Regional countries also featured famous athletes. Olympic relay gold medallist Debbie Ferguson-McKenzie of the Bahamas carried her country's flag while Felix Sanchez, the 400m hurdles gold medallist of four years ago, marched with the flag of the Dominican Republic.
President of the International Olympic Committee, Jacques Rogge, hailed China's role in bringing the Olympic dream to life. He said Beijing was "a host to the present and a gateway to the future".
The IOC president added: "You have chosen as the theme of these Games "One World, One Dream'. That is that we are tonight.
"Remember that they are about much more than performance alone. They are about the peaceful gathering of National Olympic Committees - regardless of ethnic origin, gender, religion or political system. Please compete in the spirit of the Olympic values: excellence, friendship and respect."
Chinese President Hu Jintao declared the Games officially open in front of more than 80 world leaders including American President George W. Bush.
Competition, which began on Wednesday with preliminary matches in football, officially starts today with seven gold medals to be decided - two each in judo and shooting and one each in road cycling, fencing and weightlifting.
Jamaica's main interest is in Hong Kong where Samantha Albert competes in eventing, the most complete equestrian discipline. Today and tomorrow the rider, both individual and team, will compete in the dressage with the cross-country, the most demanding of the three eventing segments, set for Monday.Meanwhile, the track and field athletes who travelled from Tianjin for the opening ceremony travelled back to the camp on Friday night. They will enter the village on Monday to await the start of the track-and-field events on Friday at the Bird's Nest Stadium.
Monday, August 4, 2008
Members of the the Alpart/Essex Valley football squad swamp Alpart's managing Director Alberto Fabrini (back row, centre) and Alpart Community Council Representative Leroy Whitely (back row, right). Also in the back row of the picture (from left) are Lance Neita (manager), Andrew Bent (coach), players Tafari Smith, Kaneil Harrison (captain), Kaya Beckford, Alberto Fabrini, Levaughn Baker, Simon Barnes, Toshroy Turner and Adrian Smart. Middle row (from left) are other players Jason McLean, Okeen Blanford, Kaycee Bromfield, Dunar Smith, Luciel Banton, Raheen Jones, Kevon Farquharson, Khesanio Hall, Mark Parchment, while Ackeem Nelson (left) and Enrique Rochester occupy the front row.
Jamaica Observer - Monday, August 04, 2008
The curtain came down Saturday on the 36th Norway Cup football tournament with the Jamaican Alpart/ Essex Valley football team finishing second in Zone C after bowing 0-4 to Pequeninos of Brazil in the final.
The Brazilians, who have won the Cup 18 times, played better football under wet conditions and after leading 3-0 in the first half, went on to clinch the match with a penalty five minutes into the second half.
Ademilson Dos Santos with a brace, and Mattheus Morelli scored for the winners.
Essex Valley placed second out of 128 teams in the zone. The tournament attracted a record 1,500 junior club teams from 50 countries.
Alpart's managing director Alberto Fabrini has congratulated the Under-14 boys "for being excellent ambassadors for Jamaica on and off the field".
The Jamaica Football Federation (JFF) president Captain Horace Burrell had earlier addressed the team in Jamaica, extending best wishes on behalf of the federation.
Sunday, August 3, 2008
published: Sunday Gleaner | August 3, 2008
KINGSTON, Jamaica (CMC):
WORLD RECORD holder Usain Bolt will run the sprint double at the Olympic Games in Beijing, China, his coach Glen Mills confirmed yesterday.
Bolt had expressed his interest in running both events at the August 8-24 Games, but said he would leave the decision up to his coach.
"He will run both," Mills said in a statement, ending weeks of speculation over the issue.
The plan at the start of the season was to focus on the 200 metres, a race Bolt won a bronze medal in at the World Championships in Osaka, Japan last year.
However, things took off for the lanky sprinter in May when he produced three sub-10 clockings in the 100-metres, including a world record of 9.72-seconds.
Fast and strong
"From his training and racing performances, coach Mills feels that Usain is fast and strong enough to do both races," one of Bolt's managers, Ricky Simms, told CMC Sports yesterday.
Bolt replaced Asafa Powell as the world record holder at the Reebok Grand Prix in New York on May 31 when he destroyed a strong field, which included American world champion Tyson Gay.
He went on to take the sprint double at the Jamaican National Championships in June - beating Powell in the 100 metres - though it was evident that neither sprinter extended himself.
Powell defeated his countryman in Stockholm on July 22 when he out-leaned Bolt at the tape to win by .01-seconds.
The inclusion of Bolt in the 100m for Beijing sets up a huge showdown with Powell and Gay, the latter of whom is expected to be fit for the race despite a hamstring scare four weeks ago.