Usain Bolt Personality of the Year

Published: Thursday | January 17, 2013 Comments 0
Great Britain's Mo Farah (left) does Usain Bolt's signature victory pose as Bolt imitates Farah's 'Mobot' on Day 15 of the London 2012 Olympics. - AP
Great Britain's Mo Farah (left) does Usain Bolt's signature victory pose as Bolt imitates Farah's 'Mobot' on Day 15 of the London 2012 Olympics. - AP

By Devon Dick

Last Friday, Usain Bolt was recognised as Jamaica's top male sportsman for his performance on the track in 2012. Bolt's historic triple in marquee events in the Beijing Olympics of 2008 was repeated in London 2012, but with one world record in the relay, an Olympic record in the 100m, and joint fourth-fastest time in the 200m. In other words, in London, Bolt ran faster in the 100m, and the relay was faster, than in Beijing.

Bolt has set the standard so high with three world records in Beijing and two world records in the Berlin World Championships that some persons sniff at what he did in London as not being up to par. The Beijing Olympics performance of three world records in the 100m, 200m and 4x100m relay cannot be bettered, only equalled. Bolt is the best sprinter the world has ever seen and probably will ever see.

But Bolt was not only great on the track in 2012 but he was great off the field. He had the London fans in his hands, conducting them like a choir. He made the British fans feel good by imitating the signature gesture of their most successful track and field athlete, Mo Farah. He did a similar gesture at a Diamond League meet where he carried the flag of the host country, Italy. Wherever he goes, he is given royal treatment, and he gave the fans a royal wave in London.

Never before have the Olympic Games been centred around an individual, and a foreigner at that, and yet Bolt delivered in fine style. Because of the Bolt factor, the men's 4x100m was made the final event, with Bolt anchoring Nesta Carter, Michael Frater and Yohan Blake to a world record time. Bolt handled the pressure very well and delivered world-class performances. He overcame the adversity of minor injuries and defeat in the national trials to run his fastest times for the year when it mattered most, and had time to ease down in the 200m.

But Bolt is not only to be confined to the track. He appeared twice on 'Saturday Night Live' in the United States. In the first scene, he was injected into the mock US vice-presidential 2012 debate. Bolt has conquered Asia, Europe and is on the verge of conquering the last major frontier, the US. Bolt is conquering the world.

He is a symbol of the power of Jamaicans to become top in their fields on the international scene. Bolt went to the seat of former colonial power and, as a representative of the former colonised people, demonstrated that we are the best.

Furthermore, Bolt took on the Western media and International Olympic Committee President Jacques Rogge in determining who a legend is and what accomplishments were necessary for him to be a legend. Bolt did not use the dictionary meaning of a traditional, historical story which is believed, but not authenticated. A legend could also be defined as an outstanding, famous person who is admired by many.

Since there is no precise definition of who a sporting legend is, Bolt decided to define it. His definition of a sporting legend is being able to do what no one else has done over two consecutive Olympics in marquee multiple events. Now most persons agree that Bolt is a legend.

Bolt is a cultural icon, fusing sports with music and now has added his acting skills. He has charisma and an engaging personality which make him Jamaica's Personality of the Year. He made us feel good about ourselves and he accomplished what has never been done before.

Usain St Leo Bolt gives us hope that Jamaica can overcome its serious socio-economic problems.

Devon Dick is an author and Baptist pastor. Email feedback to columns@gleanerjm.com.


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