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Archive for October, 2008

Beijing stars awarded national honours

Posted by Dresonic on October 5, 2008

SEVERAL members of Jamaica’s 2008 medal-winning Olympics team were yesterday honoured in a special ceremony and awarded with the country’s fifth highest national honour, the Order of Distinction, Commander and Officer Class.

In a classic 45-minute-long exercise witnessed by scores of excited Jamaicans, athletes Usain Bolt, Asafa Powell, Veronica Campbell-Brown, Shelly-Ann Fraser, Melaine Walker, Dwight Thomas, Michael Frater, Nesta Carter, Danny McFarlane and Bridgitte Foster-Hylton were honoured .

Six members of Jamaica’s world-beating delegation to the Beijing Olympics in August who were yesterday invested with the Order of Distinction (Commander class) at a special investiture ceremony at the National Stadium. From left: President of the Jamaica Amateur Athletics Association (JAAA) Howard Aris; triple gold medallist and world record holder Usain Bolt; gold medallist Veronica Campbell-Brown; Glen Mills, Bolt’s coach; former 100m world record-holder and Olympic gold medallist Asafa Powell; and 1976 Olympic 200m gold medallist and consultant in the preparations for the 2008 Summer Olympics Donald Quarrie. (Photo: Bryan Cummings

Jamaica finished the Beijing Olympics with a record haul of 11 medals – six gold, three silver and two bronze.
Bolt, Powell and Campbell-Brown were bestowed with honours in the rank of Commander, and their colleagues in the rank of Officer.

Also honoured were president of the Jamaica Amateur Athletics Association (JAAA) Howard Aris; Glen Mills, coach of Usain Bolt; 1976 Olympic 200m gold medallist and consultant in the preparations for the 2008 Summer Olympics, Donald Quarrie, who were awarded the Order of Distinction Commander Class (CD) for their service to track and field and their contribution to the athletes’ success.

The appreciative crowd, clad mostly in the green, yellow and black of the Jamaican flag which filled the stands to see the athletes, cheered and screamed to their hearts’ content, many calling out to the athletes as if they were lifelong friends.

From left: Nesta Carter, Bridgitte Foster-Hylton, Shelly-Ann Fraser, Michael Frater, Danny McFarlane, Dwight Thomas and Melaine Walker pose after being presented with the Order of Distinction Officer Class yesterday at a special investiture ceremony held at the National Stadium in Kingston. (Photo: Bryan Cummings)

“Is one of the best thing this mi ever si, whenever dem perform mi si crime cut so mi think the athletes should go into the garrison and go hol’ a vibe; it nice,” Solomon, a Kingstonian, told the Sunday Observer.

Meanwhile, triple world record holder Usain Bolt in a brief chat with the Sunday Observer could hardly find words to describe his emotions.

“It’s just great. I am enjoying it. It’s wonderful,” he said before being whisked away.

Kingstonian Charmaine Smith said she had enjoyed the brief ceremony to the hilt.

“It’s good. I go for everybody, all the athletes. At least the Government has done something good for them,” she said beaming.

Popular Jamaican actor Glen “Titus’ Campbell, a member of the team of organisers for the event, also took time to bask in the moment.

“I am very thrilled, it’s one of the times when I am very proud to be Jamaican,” he told the Sunday Observer.

Posted in Asafa Powell, International, Olympics 2008, Shelly-Ann Fraser, Sherone Simpson, Sports, Sports News, St. Elizabeth, Track&Field, Usain Bolt, Veronica Campbell | 1 Comment »

Olympians receive keys to city of Kingston

Posted by Dresonic on October 4, 2008

Triple Olympic gold medallist Usain Bolt receives the Key to the City of Kingston from Mayor Desmond McKenzie at yesterday’s function to honour the 2008 Beijing Olympic team at the Norman Manley International Airport yesterday. (Photo: Lionel Rookwood)

EIGHT Olympic gold medallists received brand new shiny keys to the city of Kingston, while the other 2008 medallists were given medals by Mayor Desmond McKenzie as the weeklong celebration of Jamaica’s exploits at the Beijing Olympic Games in August began yesterday.

Thirty-eight members of the historic 2008 Olympic team were honoured in an hourlong function at the Norman Manley International Airport shortly before being whisked away on several trucks for a motorcade which would take them from the Harbour View Roundabout through Downtown Kingston, New Kingston and into the National Stadium.

The athletes, who had been arriving in spurts since the Games ended, were bused to the airport especially for the event.

Hurdlers Brigitte Foster-Hylton, Delloreen Ennis-London, Sherone Simpson, shot putter Dorian Scott, swimmers Alia and Jevon Atkinson, Natalie Moodie, and cyclist Ricardo Lynch were notably absent as Jamaica Olympic Association president Mike Fennell apologised on behalf of those who could not be present for the government-sponsored honouring of the Olympic team which returned from China with an historic 11 medals.

Olympic 200m champion Veronica Campbell-Brown gets a big smack on the cheek from Prime Minister Bruce Golding at the welcome home for the country’s 2008 Olympians. (Photos: Lionel Rookwood)

Gold medallists Usain Bolt, Shelly-Ann Fraser, Melaine Walker, Veronica Campbell-Brown, Asafa Powell, Dwight Thomas, Michael Frater and Nesta Carter were all given the keys to the city, while 400m silver medallist Shericka Williams, 100m silver and 200m bronze medallist Kerron Stewart, and mile relay bronze medallists Novlene Williams-Mills, Shereefa Lloyd, Bobby-Gaye Wilkins and Rosemarie Whyte collected medals.
“It’s the appreciation of a grateful city,” McKenzie said.
Prime Minister Bruce Golding told those in attendance at the function that so astounding and inspiring was the achievement of the Jamaicans in Beijing that it was the first thing US president George W Bush mentioned to him during his recent visit to the United States.

“What a powerful performance your athletes gave in Beijing,” Golding said he was told by the US head of state who is set to demit office in just over three months.
Golding added that the government would be doing a number of things to expand the institutional develoment of sports and that an announcement outlining details to that effect would be made soon.

He implored the private sector to give their support to the projects being planned.

UK-based Samantha Albert, Jamaica’s first Olympic equestrian representative was appreciative of the welcome the athlete’s received and said it was nice having missed much of the excitement on mainland China as her competition had been based in Hong Kong.

“It’s amazing and nice to come down and be with the other medallists,” Albert, who was there with her two young sons, said.

She added that her unique position as Jamaica’s first and only equestrian in the Olympics drew a lot of attention.
Jamaica won 11 medals at the 29th Olympiad, including six gold, three silver and two bronze.

Posted in Asafa Powell, Entertainment, International, Jamaica, News, Olympics 2008, Shelly-Ann Fraser, Sherone Simpson, Sports, Sports News, Track&Field, Usain Bolt, Veronica Campbell | 2 Comments »

Huge crowds hail athletes

Posted by Dresonic on October 4, 2008

Olympic gold medallists Veronica Campbell-Brown (left) and Shelly-Ann Fraser greet fans during yesterday’s motorcade through Kingston, the first event in the seven-day homecoming celebrations for Jamaica’s team to the Beijing Olympics. Thousands of Jamaicans flooded the streets of the capital to show their appreciation to the athletes for their magnificent performance at the Olympics. Jamaica won a record 11 medals – six gold, three silver and two bronze – at the games. (Photo: Garfield Robinson)

Jamaicans flooded the streets of Kingston – the capital city – yesterday to pay homage to the island’s athletes who brought home a record 11 medals – six gold, three silver and two bronze – from this year’s Olympic Games in Beijing, China, a performance that stunned the world and raised the country’s profile in international track and field.

The city came to life as the thousands of flag-waving, autograph-seeking Jamaicans greeted their Olympians, who travelled around the city on a motorcade consisting of nine trucks.

Smiles, laughs and ‘shout-outs’ greeted the Olympians on the ‘homecoming motorcade’ which started its journey at the Harbour View round-a-bout and slowly wound its way around the city to the National Stadium.

A section of the large crowd that greeted Jamaica’s Olympians as their motorcade made its way through Half-Way-Tree yesterday. (Photo: Garfield Robinson)

There were those who had left work or school early and there were those who didn’t go at all. The unemployed and retired were there, and so too were suckling babes.

And while most people weren’t particular but were excited to see the entire team, there were some who said they came out specifically to see Asafa Powell, some wanted Usain Bolt and some wanted Veronica Campbell-Brown. There were a few others, however, like six-year-old Ashanti Roxbourne of Harbour View Primary School, who weren’t sure just why they were out.

“I come out here on the road to look, to see the cars and trucks,” said the little girl. Added another six-year-old: “I want to see Veronica because I love her.”

Prime Minister Bruce Golding (centre) greets triple Olympic gold medallist Usain Bolt while 100m champion Shelly-Ann Fraser is hugged by Minister of Transport Mike Henry at yesterday’s function to honour the country’s 2008 Olympians at the Norman Manley International Airport in Kingston. (Photo: Lionel Rookwood)

The grade one students were among the large group at the Harbour View round-a-bout who had to endure the brow-beating heat of the sun for two hours more than they planned since the motorcade, scheduled to begin at 11:00 o’clock, didn’t get underway until about 1:00 pm. More than a few fans, including high school students and senior citizens were visibly upset with the delay and threatened to go home.

“This is definitely too long. When I come out here this morning is only di police and di vendor dem did out here. Dat was ’bout 9:30 [or] 10:00 o’clock,” one woman was overheard telling another female standing beside her.

“Everybody must just get bex an go home,” said Pamella Williams. “Dem too disrespectful and out of order. Look how long wi stan’ up out yah ah wait. Dem tell we 11:00 o’clock and now is afta 12:00.”
However, when the first truck was spotted coming along the Palisadoes Road at 12:54, the disquiet subsided and gave way to glee, excitement, euphoria. The first four trucks had no athletes onboard but they played music and got the crowd doing the ‘Nuh Linga’, a dance move made popular by triple gold medallist Usain Bolt at the Beijing Games in August.
The already hyped crowd became more frenzied when they saw 200m gold medallist Veronica Campbell-Brown, 400m hurdles gold medallist Melaine Walker and 100m gold medallist Shelly-Ann Fraser on truck number five; triple gold medallist Bolt and Aileen Bailey on truck number seven; and 4x100m gold medallists Asafa Powell and Michael Frater, as well as several others, on truck number eight.

The height of the vehicles off the ground made it difficult for fans to touch the athletes, but they ran up alongside the floats and stretched their hands up towards them. Some were satisfied with merely shaking hands, touching fists and rubbing thumbs. Others wanted more and whipped out notebooks, flags, caps and whatever else they could get their hands on to secure signatures.

The motorcade, which also included six empty buses that had transported the athletes to the airport earlier, travelled along Michael Manley Boulevard, Port Royal Street, Duke Street, Ocean Boulevard, Marcus Garvey Drive, Portia Simpson Miller Square, Hagley Park Road, Hope Road, Trafalgar Road, Knutsford Boulevard before going onto Oxford Road, Tom Redcam Avenue, Arthur Wint Drive and ended in the car park at the National Stadium.

All along the route, scores of people came out of their offices, business places and schools lining sidewalks, banging empty buckets on rooftops, shouting and applauding through windows. Some captured the moment with camera phones.
Yesterday’s motorcade was part of a seven-day celebration in honour of the entire Jamaican delegation to the Beijing Olympics.

The motorcade followed a welcome reception at the Norman Manley International Airport where the gold medallists were presented with the Keys to the City of Kingston.

Posted in Asafa Powell, Entertainment, International, Jamaica, Melanie Walker, News, Olympics 2008, Shelly-Ann Fraser, Sherone Simpson, Sports, Sports News, Track&Field, Usain Bolt, Veronica Campbell | 1 Comment »