If you did not hear already Jamaica has retained its gold medals in both the 100m Women’s and Men’s this past weekend. In a little over two days, my small island went from having zero medals to four. This weekend is something that I always look forward to in the Olympics because I know that my nation is a track & field powerhouse. How can a nation of only 3 million produce some of the best runners in the world (fyi Sanya Richard-Ross is included in that pack). The track and field events had many Jamaicans participating in them and of course not all of them won but you know what makes these losses okay is the fact that they tried their best and went out and represented their country. It is said it is better to try and fail then to fail to try because it is when we lose that we learn what we need to do to become better as we learn about ourselves. Just seeing the sheer number of Jamaicans participating in the different events was heartwarming and I know in the future we will come back stronger.
Now let me get this straight we did not lose every event we entered of course, after all we have the fastest man and woman in the world. Shelly-Ann Fraser Pryce and Veronica Campbell Brown brought my country its first two medals of the weekend in the Women’s 100m on Saturday the 4th when they clenched Gold and Bronze respectively. I was standing during this race so anxious and nervous but in the end I was happy with both of them. One, Pryce became the first woman to win back to back 100m Golds since 1996 and two, VCB is 30 and still able to medal on the stand which is a huge accomplishment.
Then came today the 5th, the day right before Jamaica’s 50th year independence from Great Britain. I’m telling you the irony of this day could not have been any better. God so had it that the colonized came back to colonizer and added another Gold and Silver medal to the Jamaican collection. Usain Bolt, world’s fastest man ever and Olympic champion, was being challenged by some of the fastest men on the planet including his own training partner who bested him twice Yohan Blake, former world record holder Asafa Powell, Justin Gaitlin and Tyson Gay. The atmosphere was electric I could feel the tension of the stadium from my friend’s air conditioned room all the way over here in Jersey. The minute the gun shot off I was screaming she was clashing her Dutch pot (true Jamaican right there) and in less than ten seconds it was all over and Bolt had managed to retain his title while setting a new Olympic record of 9.63 the only other faster time was his world record set in 2009. Second was Yohan “The Beast” Blake and third was Gaitlin. My friend and I lost it but then we wondered what happened to Asafa because he was another key figure in this race. Turned out while running he received an injury while running. Having run the must sub 10 second races ever he was not someone to be underestimated but many news outlets barely gave him a mention as a contender most likely because on several occasions in the past Powell did not perform as expected.
The truth is however before there was a Blake or Bolt there was Asafa. Asafa gave Jamaicans the hope that they had someone out there fighting for them in a world where the United States typically dominates. Asafa had the world record until Bolt broke it and he also never gave up no matter what injury plagued him. Asafa is just as important if not moreso than Bolt because it is because of his groundwork that allows Bolt to be one of the premier athletes in the world. So when I watched a reaction video from Half Way Tree in Kingston, Jamaica I was so proud of my country. They were jumping up and down, dancing in the rain, and congratulating Bolt and Blake on their win. That was expected but even I doubted my country’s ability to be so forgiving to Powell, after all this is one chance for Jamaica to have a clean sweep of the race. I was wrong to doubt my people. When the praise went to Bolt and Blake twice as many went to Powell. They said that they love him no matter what. One person said “First, second, or last we still love you.” These powerful words made me regret ever doubting my people how could they be so ungrateful to a man who laid his heart out for his country several times no matter what the outcome. Maybe it was just my way of being a cynic that is part of my Americanization but I am glad I was proven wrong, I was so touched by the video I had to share it and post it. My country of Jamaica is scrutinized as being a violent people and country but this video shows how we are actually full of love, nationalism, and pride. Despite the odds we face we have a way of coming on out on top. Bob Marley famously said this:
“So if you are the big tree
We are the small axe
Ready to cut you down (well sharp)
To cut you down”
So to all the haters of my beautiful and lovely country please don’t think this is the last time you will hear of us because it is our time to shine. With tomorrow being our 50th year of independence I am proud to say I am Jamaican and although I live in America and have American citizenship I still claim my Jamaican identity (just like Sanya). I have Jamaican blood filled with the history and identity of my county so I could never abandon my country no matter what. And one last quote for Mr. Marley to the haters “dem a go tired fi see mi face.” Until next time.
Peace and Love,
Link to the video in case you didn’t see it yet