What a fantastic exhibition of sporting excellence the London Olympics is proving to be and how wonderful that a small island such as Jamaica has played its part in writing another part in olympic history. I'm writing this blog the day after after the Men's 100 metres final which was simply superb. The atmosphere was electric and the excitement shown by fans all over the world was truly rewarded.
Over the years, this event has always been the one Olympic final everyone wants to see with outstanding head-to-head battles and a seemingly never-ending stream of legends making it the Blue Riband event of the games. If I listed names of those who've left their impression on me over the years, I'd be accused of missing someone out but suffice it to say, Usain Bolt is the latest on that list and is undoubtedly the greatest ever men's sprinter.
I have been so impressed with London's management of the whole event. It is a real carnival of vibrant entertainment and world-class sport. World records have tumbled all over the place and thinking back to the opening ceremony, it was a masterpiece. As most people will know, I've always advocated that opening ceremonies should be held in front of audiences consumed by excitement and anticipation and that no expense should be be spared to put on the best possible show. London achieved that and the eight finalists for the world's greatest sprint race certainly kept up the standard - as indeed have athletes and competitors on just about every day so far.
But the Men’s 100 metres final was very special.
It was said that Bolt's win came against the strongest ever line-up of sprinters and I would have to agree. Had Asafa Powell not injured his groin midway through the race, the experts reckon that all eight men in the final would have gone under 10 seconds for the first time in history. Bolt even said he was only 95% fit after a well-publicised injury but even so he simply proved he was too good for the rest.
His Jamaican training partner and close friend, Yohan Blake, who caused tremors across the world by beating Bolt earlier in the summer, was a fairly distant second but it was a one-two for a country that not many people realise I actually served for 7 years. In 2001, I was privileged to be invited to take up the position of Jamaican Honorary Consul in India with authority from the Jamaican Government to assist Jamaican citizens who were either trading with, or residing in India. It was a position I held with great pride and the letter confirming my appointment from the Minister of Foreign Affairs for the island, Paul Robertson, remains a prize document. So I make no apologies for picking out Bolt and Blake as outstanding contributors (so far) in an outstanding Olympic Games. Their impact brought back many happy memories.
In the final days of competition, I shall be one of millions across the world anticipating and expecting more of the same. The Olympic Games is a wonderfully invigorating event which transcends cultural differences and unites the world. Different sports can do that for people at certain moments in time, but the Olympics manages to pull it all together in one, magnificent spectacle.