Western Grandstand : Let’s make Bolt a source of inspiration
The 2016 Summer Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, is now history and as was the case in Beijing, China, in 2008; and London, England, in 2016, our Jamaican athletes made a phenomenal impact on the popular global championship, which showcased the best athletes in the world.
Being the devoted and unapologetic track and field fanatic I have been for most of my life, I planned my vacation leave to coincide with the event. Needless to say, I have no regrets. It was a fantastic championship, which has left me with so many cherished memories.
While the vast majority of our athletes represented well, the real highlights spanned the guts and determination shown by Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce, the self-belief that drove Elaine Thompson historic sprint double; and the resilience, which further enhanced Usain Bolt's legendary status as he bagged his third triple/triple.
As is now customary, I suppose we can look forward to our awestruck politicians welcoming home the athletes with the usual fanfare and empty promises, which are usually more about putting themselves into the spotlight than any serious attempt at showing real appreciation.
When Bolt dominated in Beijing, we were led to believe that an appropriate monument would be erected in his home parish, Trelawny, to immortalise his accomplishments and serve as a source of inspiration to other athletic-minded youngsters in a parish, which has produced several global stars over the tears. Within a few short months, the plans fell off the radar
In 2012 when Bolt took London, grabbing his second triple/triple, the talk of a stadium in his honour resurfaced alongside plans to rename the Trelawny Stadium, the Usain Bolt Stadium. As I expected, none of the promises came to fruition
Now, having eclipsed the late, great Muhammad Ali as the greatest sporting personality of all-time with his unbelievable third triple/triple in Rio, I am 100 per cent positive that once he officially retires from the track, the British crown will be conferring a most deserved knighthood on him, dwarfing the local honours he has received.
Whenever that time comes, I am sure the politicians will again descend from their lofty pedestal to jump on the bandwagon to seek whatever mileage they can get from hanging on to the great man's coat tails. And of course, we will again hear more promises about building statues and stadiums in his honour the same empty promises fro Beijing.
I know there may be persons who think I am being too harsh but the history is there to support me. One example that readily comes to mind is legendary cricket umpire Steve Bucknor. Despite his string of enviable achievements, there are no monuments anywhere to celebrate his greatness.
As I have been saying in this column since the Beijing Olympics, I would like to see a number of things done in Bolt's home parish to immortalise his greatness and I am going to list them again:
Name the roadway from Duncans to the Martha Brae intersection, the Usain Bolt Highway;
Rename the Trelawny Stadium the Usain Bolt Stadium of Excellence;
Rename the William Knibb High School, the Usain Bolt High School;
Build and erect a nine-metre-tall bronze statue (Mandela style) of Bolt at the above mentioned Marta Brae intersection, which would make it visible to cruise ship coming into the Falmouth Pier.
Create a Usain Bolt Museum in his home district (Cocks Heath in Sherwood Content) as part of a marquee Usain Bolt attraction for Trelawny. The highway, the school, the stadium and the statue could be packaged as a special tour package.
I am hoping that this time around, someone of influence will pay some amount of attention to these suggestions. I believe we would have a much healthier society in western Jamaica if we have Bolt inspiring our youngsters and that the lottery scammers, who are serving up a deadly option.