Red Stripe Grandstand | Race day anxiety
Rio de Janeiro, Brazil:
Still high off the flawless execution and exhilarating performance by a young woman from the hills of Manchester, the Red Stripe GO for GOLD winners filed into the Maracana Stadium yesterday, eagerly anticipating what had been described as the race of the century.
With Jamaican flags and memorabilia in hand, this group of excited grand prize winners had sent up prayers, crossed their fingers and their toes, and put out every positive energy in the universe all for one result: that the men would deliver like only Jamaicans can.
"We are here in Brazil and we've been getting daily messages from Jamaica about what is happening on the ground. I'm confident in our guys, but I'm so nervous because we all know what track and field means to our small island," said Valerie Dyer, who is part of the group of 20 Jamaicans who are watching the races in Brazil courtesy of the Great Jamaican Beer.
"When you listen to the grand prize winners and watch how wide-eyed and excited they are about this trip, you can't help but feel blessed to be a part of this experience. Their joy is really what's good about this competition and the lives we have been able to impact," said Reshima Kelly, Red Stripe assistant brand manager, who is leading the team in the South American city.
PRIDE OF PLACE FOR ATHLETICS
When it comes to track and field, Jamaicans have been known to 'guh hard and done', and this year will be no different.
Before this year, Jamaica had won 17 gold medals at these Games, all of which came from athletics. It's no wonder then that Jamaicans are so passionate about the sport and the men and women who represent the black, green, and gold.
"We are so proud of our athletes. It's been a great experience seeing the sights and getting into Brazilian culture. But our main mission is to show love to those guys who are out there giving it their all," Dyer added.
Members of the Jamaican contingent were also pleasantly surprised to know that they were not the only ones on edge.
Brazilians are almost as anxious about the races, sharing positive wishes with the GO for GOLD team at every turn.
"We may only be a tiny dot on the world map, but athletic dominance is visible across the globe. Everywhere we go people know of Jamaicans. Dem love we so till," said RenÈe Codner.