Janet Silvera, Senior Gleaner Writer
Shelly-Ann Fraser of Jamaica jumps for joy after winning the women's 100-metre final yesterday. - AP
Jamaicans in the diaspora are fuming about a media blockade on American viewers of the Olympic Games by NBC, which frustrated efforts in watching the Caribbean island's sprint success.
Many are astonished that they were unable to see the sprint finals in real time, and had to resort to creative ways to watch or listen to the momentous exploits of Usain Bolt and the Jamaican trifecta in the women's 100m.
"Some of us have called relatives in Jamaica to hold the phone by the TV. Some have gotten fancy by using hacker techniques to 'break' into BBC video," Barron Channer, board member of www.fastestnation.com, told The Gleaner from his home in South Florida yesterday afternoon. "I personally have visited websites in Korea, China, Syria, Russia, Canada, England and The Bahamas, all in desperation to share in the joy of my Jamaican people."
Blocking online access
NBC bought the rights to the broadcast in the United States and has opted to air events such as the 100-metre finals in track and field during prime time.
"Even worse, they have colluded with other nations to block our access to videos online. This astonishment cannot be measured when the BBC's website says, 'That video is not available in your region,' five minutes before Asafa and Usain are to take the track."
The Jamaican-American concluded, however, that nothing could reduce the enormity of the islanders' accomplishments.
His counterpart, South Florida Diaspora President Marlon Hill, criticised NBC for missing both a business and marketing opportunity in reaching Caribbean-Americans.
"We had to resort to creative Internet links on Bahamian and Antiguan online broadcasts," Hill explained.
He said this moment was too historic to view delayed.
"This underscores why we have to elevate our voices to the highest levels of American society. We were totally overlooked," Hill argued.