WASHINGTON DC — Jamaica's Ambassador to the United States, Professor Stephen Vasciannie, has hailed the country’s athletes, noting that their success should serve to inspire the nation towards greater achievements.
He was speaking to the hundreds of Jamaicans and friends of the island, who gathered recently at the Hall of the Americas at the Organization of American States (OAS) headquarters in Washington D.C. to celebrate Jamaica's 50th anniversary of Independence, and to watch the country’s athletes in performance at the just concluded London Olympics.
Ambassador Vasciannie noted that most of the athletes are not from privileged backgrounds, “but are persons of determination, who, when given the opportunity, have seized it with enthusiasm”.
He said that “their grasp of opportunity should inspire us to expand our success well beyond the sporting arena to success in intellectual pursuits, investment promotion, trade competitiveness, and more generally, economic advancement for all."
Citing the achievements of ace sprinter Usain Bolt, he said that his success, while individual, has lifted the entire nation. “As members of the collective, Jamaica, we recognise that the talents of extraordinary individuals can lift an entire nation. They have truly inspired us; ‘Jamaica to the World!’” he stated.
The Ambassador said that as Jamaica observes 50 years, the superb performance of the athletes fittingly honours the country’s rich history and heritage. He said they also stand as a tribute to those who have gone before them.
“They have recalled the likes of (Arthur) Wint, (Herb) McKenley, (George) Rhoden and (Leslie) Laing from the heroic times of 1948 and 1952. They have been elevated by the performances of Donald Quarrie in Montreal. They have shown continued admiration of (Deon) Hemmings, (Merlene) Ottey, (Grace) Jackson, (Juliet) Cuthbert and all the great names,” he stated.
The reception, hosted by Ambassador Vasciannie, was attended by nationals in Washington D.C., Baltimore and Virginia, members of the diplomatic corps, and friends of Jamaica. They watched the races live while enjoying a wide variety of Jamaican cuisine and music.