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Usain Bolt Highway

Published:Thursday | September 10, 2015 | 9:00 AMHubert Lawrence, Contributor
Bolt

One of my favourite people describes me as a recalcitrant. The description fits because of my resistance, in some areas, to change. Now you know, you'll understand why I'm slow to embrace concepts like 'the living legend' and the 'Serena Slam'.

True to my nature, I think we should wait until the incomparable Usain Bolt retires before we start naming parks and erecting statues in his name. For the recalcitrant in me, it's like sending him out to pasture before time.

When the right time does come, a Bolt likeness would go beautifully in the statue garden at the National Stadium. It would fit right in with the existing statues of the Helsinki Quartet, Herb McKenley, Don Quarrie and Merlene Ottey. For all we know, that could probably be a stop on a new sports-flavoured JUTC Kingston bus tour.

 

Statue not enough

When the time comes, a single statue probably won't be enough of a tribute to a man whose achievements have outstripped everyone else's. He's been so good that you can number all the men who have beaten him since 2008 on one hand. In case, you've forgotten, that elite group only includes Asafa Powell, Tyson Gay, Yohan Blake and Justin Gatlin.

His five world records, with four in major championship finals, seven individual World Championship titles and back-to-back Olympic sprint doubles deserve more.

There are schools named after Ottey and Quarrie. Courtney Walsh Drive takes us to Melbourne and Arthur Wint Drive leads us to the National Stadium. Our sporting heroes have opened our eyes to our potential and Bolt towers over them all. When the time comes to pay lasting tribute to the tall man, the nation will have to think big.

Here's big. When Bolt hangs up his spikes, let's rename the North Coast Highway in his honour. It passes nearby his Trelawny home town and runs the length of the island. That should do nicely.

 

Grand Slam

As for the 'Serena Slam' concept, that reflects the difficulty Serena Williams and all tennis players face in winning the Australian, French and US Opens and Wimbledon in one calendar year. That's the Grand Slam.

The 'Serena Slam' describes something that comes close. Winning all four Slams across two calendar years is a fine achievement, but it isn't quite the same. Just as the fuss about Gatlin ended when Bolt beat him twice at the recent World Championships, the 'Serena Slam' idea will disappear from discussion if she wins this year's US Open. Already in 2015, she has taken top spot in Australia, France and at Wimbledon.

Regarding Bolt, his career IS the stuff of legends, but it isn't over yet. I look forward to the races he still has ahead of him and driving to Port Antonio from Montego Bay via the Usain Bolt Highway.

- Hubert Lawrence prepared this column with an Olympia typewriter and delivered it via fax machine.