You have to live on a small island to understand the intensity with which we follow international athletics.
Relay teams and individual medalists at Rio Olympics
You have to live on a small island to understand the intensity with which we follow international athletics. Since 1952 when our athletes stared winning races on the Olympics stage, we have increased our prowess to the latest in Rio where our super sportsman Usain Bolt fulfilled his dream of becoming a triple triple winner in his specialities — the 100m, 200m and the 4x100m relay. He has won gold in three consecutive Olympics in these races and set world records in previous years. His face, along with his signature pose, is celebrated all over the world of athletics. But, he is not the only one. Coming out of Rio, we have 6 gold medals, 3 silver and 2 bronze.
When the races are on, the whole country runs with the athletes. Every other activity seems to come to a halt during a race. In town squares in many parish capitals, companies cashing in on the enthusiasm erect big screen television screens and crowds gather, many dressed in our national colours. They wave flags, bang metal pot covers, blow vuvuzelas and dance. They follow the races with passion and when gold is won there is no containing the celebration. The atmosphere is so compelling that many who have tvs at home where they could watch the races prefer to be in this large gathering celebrating victory. It means a lot that for a small nation we have so many outstanding athletes. We are very proud of our athletes.
Articles have been written trying to dissect why Jamaicans are so good at sprinting. No clear answer has emerged. We like to think that it is the local organic foods we eat, especially yam from Trelawny, Usain Bolt's home parish.
See video of crowd celebrating