Today marks 50 years since Jamaica became an independent nation. The timing couldn’t be better. That’s because for that last two days Jamaican track and field stars have had the Olympic hopes of Jamaicans around the world on their shoulders.
Well, they didn’t disappoint. On Saturday Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce defended her Olympic crown in the Women’s 100 metre, but it was yesterday’s Men’s 100 metre race that electrified the world. With three Jamaican runners in the final — Usain Bolt, Yohan Blake and Asafa Powell — and Bolt expected to take gold again, Jamaicans were glued to their TV sets with flags in hand.
The gun sounded and the runners shot out of the starting blocks, but it was lightening Bolt who leaned in 9.64 seconds later to defend his Olympic crown as the Fastest Man in the World. Blake took the silver medal and unfortunately Powell pulled up with an injury and crossed the finish line last. Not only did Bolt set a new Olympic record he set the hearts of people around the world on fire.
After 50 years of independence, Olympic gold is only one of the many cultural contributions Jamaica has made to the world. Today Jamaicans have a lot to celebrate.