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VIDEO: Bolt, Blake, Weir race jams HWT

Paul Henry

Friday, August 10, 2012    

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THE crowd that gathered in front of the big screen television in Half-Way Tree, near the Transportation Centre, to watch what would be a Jamaican sweep of the men's 200-metre final, was a picture of order at the outset.

Police officersmilled around with not much to do, while traffic flowed freely.

Vuvuzelas, made popular during the 2010 Football World Cup in South Africa, blared as spectators chanted as the racers lined up. Like rushing water from a suddenly broken dam, the sea of people — decked in black, green and gold — surged toward the intersection of South Odeon Avenue and Constant Spring Road as Yohan Blake's picture flashed across the gigantic screen.

The police line was quickly overran and there were more blasts from the vuvuzelas. Motorists had no choice but to sit in their vehicles, in park mode, as ecstatic spectators blocked the intersection.

Eardrums were on the verge of rupturing when the camera locked onto sprint sensation Usain Bolt. And the decibel went up another level when newcomer Warren Weir was shown on screen.

"One-two-three. One-two-three," some among the crowd chanted while raising three fingers in the air, indicating the order in which the Jamaican runners would finish.

A man in a Jamaica National Building Society shirt wormed through the crowd handing out miniature Jamaican flags.

The roar coming from the crowd, as the athletes left the blocks, sounded like cries from soldiers on an ancient battlefield.

"One-two-three. One-two-tree. One-two-three," the crowd chanted after the race ended.

Their wish came through: Bolt, first, Blake in second place and Weir third.

"This calls for another holiday to celebrate this one-two-three victory. Portia (Prime Minister Portia Simpson Miller), we want another holiday," shouted a woman who identified herself to the Jamaica Observer as Sandra.

"We done did tell dem what ago gwaan," shouted a man.

Carlette Waugh left her home in Kingston to watch the race in Half-Way-Tree.

"Mi waan cry," she said after the race, her eyes welling up with tears. "Oh Jesus! Father God, mi glad mi alive fi witness this. We blessed! We blessed! We blessed!"

Bolt and Blake were praised as was expected, some calling Bolt a "legend" and "the real McCoy". But it was Weir who won over the hearts of the crowd.

"Bolt won the race, but in my heart Weir won it," said Shelton Grant, who said he knew Weir from childhood days. "He's a determined youth. This is my proudest moment right now."

"The little youth did us proud," shouted a woman in reference to Weir. She paused, blew her vuvuzela and vanished into the sea of people.

The police fought to clear the street of the jubilant spectators, but it was no easy task because as soon as one area of the road was cleared another would be blocked by prancing bodies.

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