Western Grandstand- Give Usain Bolt a break, he deserves it
While the latest media saga surrounding the alleged womanising ways of track and field superstar Usain Bolt might be seen to be 'much ado about nothing,' especially among persons who embrace the 'old dog' and 'galis' culture, based on his iconic culture, unlike the persons in 'thug world,' this is not something the legendary athlete can wear as a badge of honour.
Bolt is not just another man standing in the crowd. He is a renowned global figure who is admired by millions of persons across the world; a man who young aspiring athletes look up to and plan to emulate should they get an opportunity to perform on the world stage.
While dancehall star Vybz Kartel basically got away with saying people should not see him as a role model to other persons' children, Bolt cannot take any such stance, as whether or not he likes it, he is a national treasure who has been tagged 'special' by the national awards already bestowed on him.
As a young man, I can understand Bolt wanting to enjoy the pleasures that go with youth. However, at the risk of coming off as being hypocritical, I would urge him to be discreet in his undertakings, knowing that whatever he does before the lens of a camera is likely to influence those who adore him and want to be like him.
And while I understand the importance of preserving his image, I am somewhat annoyed by those persons who have decided that what they have heard is true and have been lashing out against him. Personally, I am more worried about some glory-seeking woman trying to bring him down than about any wild partying.
Those lashing out against Bolt, especially the older folks, need to realise that Bolt is a product of an environment, where men are known to be involved in multiple relationships at the same time. While there is room for an argument about the 'rightness' and 'wrongness' of it, Bolt did not start it and it is unlikely that it will end with him.
I have heard many horror stories of persons who, in seeking to create a false image of moral correctness, have destroyed the lives of many young persons. We grew up hearing the many stories of girls being forced to have abortions because a 'Mr Oh so holy' can't afford to have his wife find out that he is involved in an extramarital affair.
While I am in no way endorsing loose living, I believe some of us adults need to look back at our youth and reflect on some of the things we still smile about today. While it is good to give advice based on our own experiences, we can't be overbearing because one slip of the tongue could undermine an honest intention.
I don't believe we should continue to make a national obsession out of something that probably never happened in the way it seemed. What we should be seeking to do is to celebrate Bolt and his phenomenal accomplishments instead of pressuring him so much that he comes with an ashen face instead of his trademark smile.
I hope that Bolt's handlers have learnt something from this experience. They have a responsibility to protect him and his image. He needs to be given the type of VIP treatment that will protect him from persons who will welcome the slightest slip to spark a controversy. They need to remember this is no ordinary man, he is one with a world of expectations on his shoulder.
I am just waiting on Queen Elizabeth to give him the much-deserved knighthood, which she has conferred on legendary West Indies cricketers Sir Garfield Sobers, Sir Curtly Ambrose and Sir Vivian Richards. Also, I hope that, like the government of Barbados has done with Sir Garfield, we should make Bolt a national hero now. As far as I am concerned, he is as deserving as the current seven.