JIS News

Minister of Information, Culture, Youth and Sports, Olivia Grange, has said that the upcoming Olympic Homecoming Celebrations, scheduled for October 3 to 10, is an excellent way for Jamaica to honour and show its appreciation to the country’s Olympians.
“Our Olympic athletes have treated Jamaica, and the world for that matter, to an experience of a lifetime. The Olympic Homecoming Celebrations will be our way of saying thank you to them all, for reigniting the spirit of national unity and bringing unbridled joy to our people,” she said in an interview with JIS News.
“We want to hold up all our Olympians in the highest esteem, as symbols of what can be achieved when individuals are hardworking, disciplined and dedicated. We can be the world’s best,” the Minister added.
From October 3 to 10, Jamaica and its Olympians, will participate in an array of festivities slated for Kingston and the western end of the island.
“I’m expecting an absolutely joyous and extraordinary experience, which will reinforce in Jamaicans the level of talent that we have and that when harnessed, there is really no limit as to what we can achieve. I hope that people will reflect upon this and think to themselves ‘I can be a success like the Olympians’,” Miss Grange said.
On Friday, October 3, the athletes will be met at the Norman Manley International Airport by a team, led by Prime Minister, Bruce Golding. This will be followed by a welcome reception in the Air Jamaica Hangar. During the function, the Keys to the city of Kingston, will be presented to some of the athletes by the Mayor of Kingston, Councillor Desmond McKenzie.
Following this, Jamaicans will get a chance to see and talk to their Olympic heroes, as there will be a Motorcade through the streets of the Corporate Area, that will end at the National Stadium car park.The motorcade will serve as a prelude to the big day in Kingston on Saturday, October 4, when the National Stadium will come alive with the Olympic Sports Gala. There will be a National Salute to the entire Beijing contingent (athletes, coaching staff and official delegation), and National Awards will be conferred on Gold Medal winners.
From October 7 to October 8, North Western Jamaica will get their turn to celebrate, as there will be a motorcade from Montego Bay to Falmouth, followed by the Western Sports Gala and Homecoming at the Trelawny Stadium. The Keys to the city of Montego Bay will be presented to select athletes at a Civic Ceremony. In between these activities, the Jamaica National Heritage Thanksgiving Service, will be held to thank God for the successes of Beijing and to herald the beginning of the Heritage Week celebrations. This service, which will be a tribute to the 2008 Olympians, will be held on Sunday, October 5, at Emancipation Park in Kingston, beginning at 5:00 p.m.
Students will get their chance to see the athletes, who will be taken on school tours on Monday, October 6. They will assemble at two points – University of Technology (UTech) in Kingston and the G.C. Foster College in St. Catherine.
Additionally, there will be a private party at The QUAD in New Kingston, to honour Usain Bolt, and a fund-raising dinner sponsored by Strawberry Hill, titled: ‘Dining with the Stars, under the Stars’.
In celebrating, the Minister is calling on Jamaicans to remember the Olympians of the past and how far the country has come.
“We must remember that this didn’t start yesterday. Prior to Usain Bolt, the last man to simultaneously hold the world records in the 100m and 200m was our very own Donald Quarrie in the 1970s and of course when Bolt first broke the world record, it was that of his countryman and multiple record breaker, Asafa Powell. We can also go back to the 1948 and 1952 Olympics, where Jamaica, through Herb McKenley, Dr. Arthur Wint, George Rhoden and Les Laing, delivered golden performances,” she passionately asserted.