Minister of Youth, Sports and Culture, Hon. Olivia Grange, has described the statue of the Hon. Herb McKenley, which was unveiled at the National Stadium in Kingston yesterday (November 25), as a symbol of “passion, dedication and determination”.
“Generations of Jamaicans will look up at this monument of Herb and be inspired. It will remind us of the glory of the past, as we prepare for the victories of tomorrow,” she said.
The statue titled: ‘Beyond the Tape’, sculpted by Basil Watson and installed in front of the stadium, honours the legendary Jamaican Olympian.
McKenley won four Olympic medals including three individual silver medals between 1948 and 1952. His Olympic Gold medal was achieved in 1952, when he produced one of the greatest relay legs of all time to propel Jamaica to victory in world record time in the 4×400-metre event.
Prime Minister, the Hon. Bruce Golding (right), seems amused at something President of the Republic of Tanzania, His Excellency Jakaya Mrisho Kikwete (second right), said to Olympians, Ambassador the Hon. Usain Bolt (left) and. Asafa Powell, at the ceremony for the unveiling of the Herb McKenley Monument, held at the National Stadium in Kingston, yesterday (November 25).
At various times, Mr. McKenley held the world record for the 300 yards, 400 yards and 400-metre races. He remains the only person to have reached the finals for the Olympic 100 metre, 200 metres and 400 metres races.
Mr. McKenley also spent many years developing the talents of young athletes as a coach, most notably at Calabar High School in St. Andrew. He also served for several years, as a local sports administrator, when he was president of the Jamaica Amateur Athletics Association (JAAA).
At the unveiling, several tributes were paid to the Olympian, who died on November 26, 2006, by several of his past colleagues such as, President of the Calabar Old Boys’ Association, John Messam; President of the Olympians Association, Vilma Charlton; President of the JAAA, Howard Aris; and President of the Jamaica Olympic Association, Hon. Michael Fennel.
Current Olympic stars, Asafa Powell and Ambassador the Hon. Usain Bolt, also recognised the trailblazing path of Mr. McKenley, noting that he had inspired them to do well in their sport.
The Herb McKenley Monument, titled ‘Beyond the Tape’, which was unveiled at the National Stadium in Kingston, yesterday (November 25).
During the ceremony, Prime Minister, the Hon. Bruce Golding, who participated in the official unveiling, presented miniature statues of Olympic gold medallists, Hon. Usain Bolt and Shelly-Ann Fraser to the President of the United Republic of Tanzania, His Excellency Jakaya Mrisho Kikwete.
A miniature of the Herb McKenley statue was also presented to the late Olympian’s wife, Beverly McKenley, by the sculptor.
Mr. McKenley’s son, Michael, said his family was very proud and grateful and hoped that the statue would help to continue his father’s legacy.
He also thanked the Government for recognising his father in such a way and gave a special thanks to Basil Watson for “capturing the essence of my father in this remarkable statue.”