Tue | Jan 23, 2018

Expand stadium, establish athletics hall of fame

Published:Saturday | August 20, 2016 | 12:00 AM


Following the amazing smorgasbord of talent served up so far by Team Jamaica at the Olympic Games in Rio, Brazil, it seems only appropriate to remind our leaders that the time has come for two very important things to be immediately effected.

First, the National Stadium must be upgraded urgently. This will ensure that the phenomenal levels of talent that keep being showcased there each year continue and expand. Increased space for athletes and their supporters, as well as for the creation and expansion of sports-related businesses, will redound to the country's development.

As part of this development, there should also be an immediate upgrade of the swimming pools and all other related athletic fields and surfaces within the vicinity of the stadium. These are crucial to safeguarding Jamaica's continued capacity in these areas.

Second, there is need for the creation of an athletics hall of fame, headed by a statue of the legendary Usain St Leo Bolt. All the other greats produced right there in the National Stadium, or whose initial efforts helped to influence the successive generations of talent that flowed from it, should also be included. Names like Arthur Wint, George Rhoden, Herb McKenley, Les Laing, Merlene Ottey, Veronica Campbell-Brown, Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce and Alia Atkinson come readily to mind.

An associated Track and Field Museum is also needed. It must have all the modern trappings and must outline our storied past in sports. From creative audiovisual presentations to three-dimensional recreations of the history these great Jamaicans have blazed, technology and smarts should be brought to bear in forging a first-class memorial to Jamaica's athletic prowess.