We knew it was coming but we were still not quite ready. Usain Bolt has had an amazing sporting journey; he sped into our lives and quickly became one of the most admired sportsmen of this century.
For Jamaicans he represents something even more. Like Peter Phillips, the leader of Jamaica’s opposition, the People’s National Party, puts it;
“You are now the greatest Jamaican of all time…You have set new limits for human capacity and speed and your records of performance will endure through all history.”
This was the man that Jamaicans showed up in swathes to say an emotional farewell to as he ran his 84th and final race in Jamaica. In a departure from normal sporting culture, an ordained minister spoke a blessing over the race that showed just how much Usain Bolt is loved;
“We thank you God, for you have truly been good to Jamaica. You have blessed us with doctor, the honourable Usain St Leo Bolt, the embodiment of sportsmanship, who reminds us of the gumption and indomitable spirt of the Jamaican people. May the vibe in the stadium bring a world of justice and love, and make your kingdom on Earth as it is in heaven. Amen.”
Usain Bolt ran his final race in jamaica at the National Stadium where his inspiring jorney began in 2002. Then, he had won the world junior 200m title as a 15-year-old by beating athletes three years his senior.
Of course, he also won this race as 35,000 people cheered him on in what they called – Salute To A Le gend. They roared and clapped even though his finishing time of 10.03sec was nothing special for him.
The runner had missed two weeks of training after the death of his close friend Germaine Mason in a motorbike accident. When he crossed the finish line he was greeted and mobbed by photographers and cheerleaders alike after which he underwent a long lap of honor before climbing the stands to celebrate with friends and family.
As we also join Jamaica in celebrating their legend, here are five things we love about Usain Bolt;
His showmanship is extraordinary
Usain Bolt’s signature ‘lightning’ pose is almost as famous as the man himself. Almost all his races have been ended in this cool, fun manner that have made him a memorable sportsman. He gives off an air of being laid-back and charming and is always ready to mingle with his fans, smiling and taking selfies.
He is a winner
Of course, usain Bolt is loved for the simple fact that he wins at almost everything. He is a record-breaker who has awed people with staggering sporting feats – like setting world records in the 100m of 9.58 seconds and the 200m of 19.19 seconds
He knows how to party
Whether celebrating a victory or just living life, Usain Bolt knows how to party. He sways and dances after races and then has wild parties afterwards like the one after last years Olympics that started up some rumors.
He gives back
Usain Bolt is always creating opportunities for his childhood town to develop and he has brought numerous advertising and tourism opportunities Jamaica’s way.