Wed | Feb 26, 2020

Mexican Memoirs: Adiós, Guadalajara!

Published:Sunday | October 30, 2011 | 12:00 AM
GUADALAJARA, Mexico:Mis maletas están empacadas, estoy listo para salir (translation below).

I leave Guadalajara with many memories. Most will remain with me for the rest of my life.

The Mexicans have turned out to be very good hosts and the XVI Pan American Games has been a success after a slow start.

My most lasting memory: The Catedral de Guadalajara at night. It's one of the most beautiful sights one will ever see. This massive structure, with lights all over, dominate the skyline in the heart of the city.

There are other things which will leave an indelible impression, like patrons forming long lines outside my neighbours', the La Chata Restaurant, waiting to be seated for a taste for the best Mexican food in the city. I have seen people waiting outside restaurants before, but never in lines with 30 or more people waiting to be called. I did not get a chance to ride in the calandrias, but I would often stand at nights just watching these single-horse carriages, with driver and sightseers aboard, winding their way through the sometimes very heavy downtown traffic.

On the Jamaica side, I cannot forget two expressions of swimmer Alia Atkinson at the Scotiabank Aquatic Centre. I felt her pain after she narrowly missed out on a medal in the 100 metres breaststroke and shared in her joy the following night when she won a silver in the 200 metres individual medley, her first medal at this level.

The big disappointment: Seeing Jamaica, a first-world country in track and field, struggling on the track in events in which we have been dominating the world.

I saw the frustration on the face of head coach Raymond 'KC' Graham who, despite some good performances from a few athletes, was given a basket to carry water.

Bad timing

The problem here does not reside with the Jamaica Olympic Association. They can only take those athletes who are available. The timing of the Games, when most athletes are resting and some doing their background work, does not help, but we can do better.

Cesar Cielo, Brazil's swimming superstar and world-record holder for the 50m and 100m freestyle, came here. Cuba's Dayron Robles, the world-record holder for 110m hurdles, won a gold medal for his country and he was involved in the Daegu World Championships in South Korea. Veteran sprinter Kim Collins of St Kitts and Nevis, a 100m medallist in Daegu, was also here.

It's really hard to be running for the entire year, but Lerone Clarke did it and he is now Commonwealth Games and Pan American Games 100 metres gold medallist.

There must be a time when country can come before self.

(Translation: My bags are packed, I am ready to go.)