Wild celebration in London after 100m double

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

Monday, August 06, 2012

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LONDON, England — Jamaicans, adorned from head to toe in black, green and gold, took to London streets last night with pride to celebrate Usain Bolt and Yohan Blake's gold and silver medal victories, respectively, in the long-awaited Olympic men's 100-metre finals here.

Pockets of Jamaicans gathered at city squares, parks, bars, and anywhere big screen TVs were set up to blow whistles, wave flags and cheer on the athletes to victory in true Jamaican style.

At the entrance to the Olympic Park in Stratford, a group of Jamaicans formed a cheerleading team as they danced and coined their own lyrics to popular Jamaican songs, much to the delight of hundreds of passengers passing through the nearby train station.

Shouts of "Usain Bolt!" echoed throughout the bustling town square as the cheering group grew larger by the minute with more Jamaicans stopping by to join the celebrations.

Passersby, some draped in other countries's flags, stopped to celebrate with the Jamaicans, taking pictures with the Jamaican flag and doing Bolt's famous signature 'To the world' pose.

Strangers who would never exchange a word struck up lively conversations on the streets and inside the train station as the whole world seemed to be celebrating Jamaica's victory.

International media stopped to get sound bites from the cheering crowd and even the usually stern policemen surrounding the park seemed to relax for the moment as the bustling train station was transformed into a festive venue.

"Jamaica ah 50 years tomorrow and this ah we present," shouted Meshack McLean as he led the group in the singing of Tony Rebel's Sweet Jamdown.

"Me love the unity and the togetherness with people of all race who are here to celebrate with us," he told the Jamaica Observer.

Sharlene Dunns was in her element as she was asked to pose for several pictures by non-Jamaicans who were fascinated with her outfit, which consisted of everything from black, green and gold hair to similarly coloured shoes.

"I am so proud to be a Jamaican, extremely proud," she beamed as she wrapped a flag closer around her.

At the Maryland School, a few miles away, many Jamaicans left their flat-screen tvs at home, crammed into the school hall to watch the race which was streamed via computer on a projector screen.

"I just wanted to be somewhere watching it with a lot of other Jamaicans because I knew we would have something to celebrate," said Marlene Shaw.

Michael Coore and Garvis Brady, who also came out in their Jamaican colours, said they were extremely proud to be Jamaicans in London at this time.

Evangelist Denise Chambers said she has not owned a television for years now, after she made the personal choice not to. However, it took a race like last night's to get her out to watch the event on big screen.

"It was fantastic, and I am glad Bolt came through because I was rooting for him," she said.

Collin Robinson said watching the race made him wish he was in Jamaica now to celebrate with the country.

"I am feeling very proud," he said.





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