Jamaicans Give Us Something to Smile About

Are you as disheartened as I am by the phony “protests” at town hall meetings and the constant bickering in Washington… the treachery of snakes like Republican Senator Chuck Grassley… the lies and fear mongering surrounding the health care debate… the eruption of racial hatred – even the display of guns – targeting the President… revelations of Dick Cheney’s Blackwater assassins and Bush’s trumped up “terror alerts” that helped him defeat John Kerry… and on and on and on?

Then you will welcome, as I did, news that’s uplifting and inspiring. And little Jamaica has given us such news – not once but repeatedly in the past few days. I am referring, of course, to the way Jamaican sprinters are dominating the World Championships in Berlin – Usain Bolt’s 100- and 200-meter triumphs that shattered his previous world records, for example, and Olympics 100-meter champion Shelly-Ann Fraser’s Berlin reprise with teammate Kerron Stewart coming in a close second.

But the amazing ability of Jamaica’s athletes is nothing new. I can still recall watching a newsreel of the 1952 Olympics 4-by-400-meter relay at the Carib Theatre. As I remember it, the headline in the Gleaner that day was something like “Little Jamaica Beats the World.” Those four Jamaican men set a record that remained unbroken for eight years.

For more on Jamaican sprinters, click: http://sprintfactory.com/

queensBut track and field is not the only venue where Jamaica has earned acclaim recently. The first-ever black Miss England was crowned at London’s Metropole Hilton Hotel a couple of weeks ago. And – although this was overlooked by the media which understandably focused on the fact that she was born in London – her heritage is Jamaican.

The new Miss England is 20-year-old Rachel Christie (photo shows her with runner up  Lance Corporal Katrina Hodge on her right and third placed Viki Bailey on her left).

She is the niece of Jamaican-born Linford Christie (one of Britain’s best athletes ever) and granddaughter of James and Mabel Christie of – you guessed it – Jamaica. Miss Christie, who is herself a formidable athlete, will compete for the Miss World crown in Johannesburg in December. But her greatest ambition is to win a gold medal in the 2012 Olympics. She specializes in the 400 meters and the heptathlon.

So, bravo Jamaican athletes! Good luck Rachel! And as “brawta,” take a few seconds (19.19 seconds to be precise) to watch “Lightning” Bolt’s perfect 200-meter race:

http://uk.eurosport.yahoo.com/video/20082009/58/wr-200m-final.html

gwgraeme

I am a Jamaican-born writer who has lived and worked in Canada and the United States. I live in Lakeland, Florida with my wife, Sandra, our three cats and two dogs. I like to play golf and enjoy our garden, even though it's a lot of work. Since retiring from newspaper reporting I've written a few books. I also write a monthly column for Jamaicans.com

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