Wed | Jul 18, 2018

Red Stripe Grandstand | 'Out of Many, One People' in Rio de Janeiro

Published:Friday | August 19, 2016 | 12:00 AM
Go for Gold winners pose with other Jamaicans in the Olympic Stadium in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.

Rio de Janeiro, Brazil:

For a brief moment, by having a common competitor, Jamaicans pause. We celebrate in a way that is akin to melodrama, rekindling national pride and patriotism. The unifying force of sports on people across all spectra of society catapults beyond societal norms of segregation. We simply forget all the nuances of everyday life, and socio-economic ranking takes a back burner.

When the world's fastest male sprinter took to the tracks on Sunday, August 14, 2016, the streets of Half-Way Tree, Kingston, were an accurate visual representation of all the ingredients that are combined to prepare the uniquely vibrant and eclectic dish known as Jamaica.

We were no longer uptown versus downtown, country versus metropolis. We were simply Jamaicans, and for this brief moment in time, that was all that was necessary, and it is all that we need.

For our GO for GOLD winners in Brazil, it was easy for them to connect with other Jamaicans living in Brazil. It was beyond being adorned in Jamaica's national colours, which were donned by many non-Jamaicans in Rio de Janeiro. Instead, they immediately identified the other Jamaicans by how they channelled the roots of our ancestry into the rhythmic beats of the pot covers being banged and the wild bellows of our native tongue in celebration of our athletes. We are loud and we are proud and we can spot another Jamaican in a crowded stadium among the panacea of other nationalities in easy succession.

This came as a shock to the group that had preconceived notions of Brazil based on media representations of the country. "I used to take the motto 'Out of Many, One People' at face value, but Jamaicans are everywhere, and before we even speak, we know each other. It is something that really cannot be explained, but is simply understood," said Sanjie Clarke, who is guest to GO for GOLD winner Renee Codner.