Thursday, August 23, 2012


Lots of stories will come out of London, but they are not going to ever capture the real impact of what Jamaica had to offer at these Games. While Jamaicans at home and abroad thought track and field was it, well, it was, but Alia Atkinson's swimming stories were profound. Samantha Albert's exploits in Equestrian were well published and Kenneth Edwards attempt on defeating the World Champion in karate was excitingly hilarious. A news item mentioned that if the chinese world championship had won in the semis, Edwards could have gotten back in the race (lol) but it wasn't to be. He had the crowds chanting "Jamaica, Jamaica" - that is a real live feedback on Brand JAMAICA. Anyway, the crowd. At the Olympic Park there were a few other venues outside of track and field, the aqautic centre is at the Eastern side of the main stadium and a massive food court along with some 'sightly' attractions. So imagine walking in a crowd of up to 100,000 twice a day for 10 days at least. The cops on foot and horses are there for your support; while the volunteers are there too with oversized hands pointing patrons in the right direction. They were pleasant. They were courteous. They recognised us each time we passed. And the other countries too. In my own biased way I think they recognised Jamaica more. They asked us for our pins, flags, shirts or any thing Jamaican we had. Some of us obliged. None of us wanted to let go of the paraphanelia we took with us as it was our stamp while in London. The crowd in and out of the park was heavy all the time. We stopped and took pictures. We were photographed. It was an amazing experience. Once track and field started though, things literally heated up...the ticket checkers asked "So what is Jamaica going to do today?" We were mesmerized with the attention we got. The billboards of one Usain Bolt (Visa approved) were everywhere around the Park. And yes, Visa in an Olympic sponsor. He was all the entrances possible. Stratford was BOLT-like in every way. The 80,000 capacity stadium was thrilled with exciting performances each day, but on August 5 when BOLT won the 100 metres, the decibel level of the stadium hit high pitch. It was LOUD after that....for the record, the stadium will be scaled down to seat 25,000 after the Games to facilitate a possible West Ham take over (time will tell). Enough Jamaicans were in the packed stadium and so we had our anthem play four times, by the third time, some of that crowd was singing a few of those words...oh what pride. Now it is time to get out at the end of the day and the crowd again....all 80,000 of us filling out at the same time into Stratford....Sadiki and I got tricked into walking to West Ham one night by Franno (the Dread) and 40 minutes later I felt ready for the Reggae Marathon - I wish! otherwise we ventured through the well mannered crowd into Westfield Mall most times to charge the phone, IPad, top the credit (yes, strange but true) or grab a bite. We were five stops from the Mall on the tube, so getting home was easy and we lived 10 minutes walk or less from the station. The crowd is still in my head....and hearing Jamaica on the bull horns, from the volunteers and from other patrons, is something I will not forget anytime soon. JAMAICA - a ya so nice :-)

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