With anticipation for the 2012 Lond0n Olympics building by the day, Jamaica has been receiving more than its fair share of international attention. To the relief of the island’s leaders, who are usually dealing with the fallout of massive public debt, rampant police killings, and other woes, the focus at the moment is the prominence of the country’s athlete’s on the world stage. Usain Bolt, the reigning 100m champion and considered the fastest man in the world, is but one of a cadre of sprinters who are fully expected to dominate the sprints this summer in the UK.
A British friend said to me tonight, even Jamaica’s #6 sprinter, who, failing to place in the top tier in the nation’s qualifying races, would still take the top place among Britain’s runners.
Last weekend saw Jamaica’s qualifyers, where athletes gathered at the National Stadium in Kingston to compete for spots on the team that will represent Jamaica at the Olympics. The biggest surprise of the weekend was Bolt’s loss to his much younger training partner, Blake, in both the 100 and 200 meter sprints.
A colleague used his lunch hour the week before to brave the chaos of the national stadium’s ticket booth last week on the day tickets went on sale – and he was still unable to procure anything besides general seating tickets, so high was demand.