George Graham

Jamaica’s Big Day Illuminated by Bolt’s Lightning

Usain Bolt added an explosive exclamation point to Jamaica’s 50th anniversary celebrations when he won the gold medal in the Olympics 100-meter dash yesterday. And Yohan Blake enhanced the drama by placing second.

You can bet Jamaicans will be jumpin’ up today. Hands in the air!

Fifty years! Half a century. Against all odds, Jamaica survives – free and proud. And Jamaicans around the globe continue to amaze.

In every field, from track to cancer research, from academia to finance, from entertainment to politics, Jamaicans stand out.

As we knew it would be from the start, Jamaica’s path as a free country has been strewn with obstacles.  The international finance system is stacked against small, independent countries. But the Jamaican spirit is undiminished. Our heads remain unbowed. We know we will prevail somehow. And meanwhile we will sing and dance, and run like the wind.

I stayed up way past my bedtime to see the 100-meter finals. Even though it meant enduring overgenerous helpings of beach volleyball, and an anticlimactic gymnastics event in which America’s vaunted favorite had an embarrassing prat fall. Throughout the day, I had watched and waited, while NBC tormented me with hour after hour of  equestrian jumping, water polo, field hockey…

The NBC programmers had done the same thing to me on Saturday with the women’s 100-meter finals,when Jamaica’s Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce captured the gold.

I got to thinking NBC had it in for me personally.

But I was not the only long-suffering viewer. In today, Allen Barra complained:

Years from now, millions of Americans, including myself, will remember exactly where we were when Usain Bolt won the 100m in London in 9.63 seconds — the second fastest time in history. We were in front of our TVs watching horse jumping (on NBC) and women’s volleyball (on MSNBC).

The 100m final is, traditionally, the glamour event of the Olympics, the marquee race of the games. That was especially true this time with Bolt, who dazzled in Beijing, looking to become just the second man in Olympic history to win consecutive gold medals in the event. (Carl Lewis is the other.) And the greedy, calculating bastards who run NBC decided everyone in the U.S. should watch horses jumping over obstacles while the fastest man in the world won his gold — so they could make more money by running it in prime time.

Indeed,  Allen Barra, indeed. Who can venture an acceptable  reason for an endless parade of Olympic mediocrity on every NBC-affiliated station while the truly dramatic events were kept under wraps until nearly midnight?

And even more perplexing, who can defend NBC’s preemption of the airwaves on a day when yet another crazed gunman ran amok, killing six people at a Sikh temple in Wisconsin?

Has mass murder become so commonplace in America that it is not worth interrupting a horse show or a water polo game to mention it?

Click here for the article.

Click here for Bolt’s victory.

Click here for Fraser-Pryce’s victory.

Click here for shooting at Sikh temple.


About the author


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