Packed National Stadium Bids Goodbye to Bolt

Photo: Michael Sloley Jamaican sprint icon, Usain Bolt, does his signature lightning Bolt pose after winning the 100-metre sprint at the JN Racers Grand Prix meet at the National Stadium in Kingston on June 10. The event, held under the banner ‘Salute to a Legend’, was in honour of Bolt, who will be retiring from competition this year.

Story Highlights

  • Thousands of Jamaicans packed the National Stadium in Kingston last Saturday (June 10) to bid farewell to legendary track-and-field superstar Usain Bolt, in his final performance on home soil at the Jamaica National (JN) Racers Grand Prix.
  • Spectators, several of whom were clad in black, gold and green, turned up at the stadium from as early as 3:00 p.m. for the event, which got under way at 6:30 p.m., all in a bid to witness the Olympic legend’s final race in the island.
  • After the race, the world’s fastest man took a victory lap, then returned to the number-five lane, where he launched his international career at the world juniors in 2002, kissing the finish line before flashing his signature lightning bolt pose to screams and thunderous applause.

Thousands of Jamaicans packed the National Stadium in Kingston last Saturday (June 10) to bid farewell to legendary track-and-field superstar Usain Bolt, in his final performance on home soil at the Jamaica National (JN) Racers Grand Prix.

The event, which was dubbed ‘Salute to a Legend’, attracted top international athletes, who came out to honour the eight-time Olympic gold medallist and world-record holder.

Spectators, several of whom were clad in black, gold and green, turned up at the stadium from as early as 3:00 p.m. for the event, which got under way at 6:30 p.m., all in a bid to witness the Olympic legend’s final race in the island.

It was a celebratory atmosphere as persons danced to pulsating reggae beats, waved Jamaican flags, and blew vuvuzela.

Bolt did not disappoint the capacity crowd, cruising to victory in the final race of the night in 10.03 seconds, with fireworks greeting the sprinters at the finish.

After the race, the world’s fastest man took a victory lap, then returned to the number-five lane, where he launched his international career at the world juniors in 2002, kissing the finish line before flashing his signature lightning bolt pose to screams and thunderous applause.

In a brief ceremony before the race, Prime Minister, the Most Hon. Andrew Holness, expressed gratitude to Bolt for his contribution to the country.

“What he has done, there is nothing we can do but to say to this great man, thank you. We have shared in the agony of his travails, and we share in the victory and the thrills of his successes. May God bless you in your future endeavours,” he said.

Opposition Leader, Dr. Peter Phillips, for his part, described Bolt as a “shining example of integrity”.

President of the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF), Sebastian Coe; and former President of the North America, Central America and Caribbean Athletic Association (NACAC), Victor Lopez, who were also on hand, hailed Bolt for raising the profile of track and field in the Americas and in the wider international community.

Head Coach of Racers Track Club, and Bolt’s long-time coach and mentor, Glen Mills, presented the sprint legend with an award for his contribution to track and field.

In response, Mr. Bolt said “there were no words” to describe the outpouring of love and support from Jamaicans.

“I have done what I have done, and being spoken of as a legend now is something big. I couldn’t have done it without the support of parents, close friends, and the huge support from everybody,” he said.

“The fans from Jamaica really came out and supported me, and I want to thank you guys. I never expected this; thank you for coming out, thank you for showing the support,” he continued.

In a JIS News interview, Minister of Culture, Gender, Entertainment and Sport, Hon. Olivia Grange, said the Government plans to preserve the Bolt legacy.

She said focus will be placed on promoting sports tourism, through the development of the Trelawny Multipurpose Stadium and National Stadium, to host international events.

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