200m sweep excites Jamaicans in London

BY INGRID BROWN Associate editor special assignment browni@jamaicaobserver.com

Friday, August 10, 2012

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LONDON, England — For the second time in a week, Jamaicans adorned in their national colours took to the streets of London to celebrate the country's triumph at the Olympic Games after sprint sensation Usain Bolt, followed by Yohan Blake and newcomer Warren Weir made a clean sweep of the 200-metre men's finals.

Bolt clocked 19.32 seconds, just .02 seconds off the Olympic record he set in the 2008 Beijing games to take gold, while Blake ran a season's best 19.44 seconds for silver, and Weir copped bronze with a personal best of 19.84.

But Jamaicans were not the only ones celebrating the phenomenal feat. Adoring fans from other countries, their athletes forgotten for the moment, joined in the celebration, many doing Bolt's famous 'To the World' pose.

At the 02 Arena, hundreds of Jamaicans piled into 'Jamaica House' to celebrate until the wee hours of the morning.

Even when the place was packed to capacity, the Jamaicans kept coming. Journalists from international media houses rushed to the facility, as well, to capture the celebration.

The screams of delight as Bolt, Blake and Weir crossed the finish line in front of the other five competitors were deafening. Many Jamaicans proudly waved miniature flags.

There were cheers in barbershops, pubs, parks and at every corner where big-screen televisions were set up for persons to watch the Games.

On the train, everyone was talking about the trio's "fantastic performance". Any sign that someone is Jamaican immediately spurred a conversation with fellow passengers who wanted to congratulate the country on its stellar performance.

Olympic workers shouted congratulations over megaphones.

"One, two, three, what do you say? Usain Bolt!" shouted one worker.

The response was just as spirited as groups of Jamaicans began chanting, "Usain Bolt!"

In fact, the buzz words being used by people to greet each other on the streets and on the trains are "one, two, three".

Elvis Lewis, who is of Jamaican parentage, said at the barbershop where he worked, his African colleagues were all cheering on Jamaica to take all three medals.

"I was the only Jamaican there and it was a very proud feeling," he said. "It was one of those moments when the hair stood up on the back of my neck."

He said he didn't know who Warren Weir was and so he was not expecting that Jamaica would have copped all three medals.

Glen Buck, a Caucasian Briton, said he would have won big time had he followed the other guys at the pub and bet on Jamaica winning all three medals.

"I said Jamaica was going to take all three medals but some of the other guys said the French guy would come third and so I didn't bother to bet and now I am disappointed," he said.

Buck said that the race was the most fantastic he had ever witnessed.

"Bolt is just simply amazing," he said.

Andre Palmer, a Jamaican living in London, said the performance of the three athletes has left him overwhelmed with pride.

He said he had always remained optimistic that Jamaica would have taken all three medals although he had no track record on which to base Weir's performance.

"But to witness that moment was just phenomenal and makes me proud to be a Jamaican," he said.

Snapshots of how international media reported Usain Bolt's epic repeat victory in the Olympic men's 200m yesterday in their online editions.





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