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Usain Bolt’s mother Jennifer saw a world champion in him from he was 12 years. So it’s no wonder she remains unfazed by the drama that is unfolding in Beijing. She passes a cursory glance at her picture in China’s largest English newspaper, The Post, snapped after her son’s historic win and quickly dismisses the notion that, like her son, she has taken on celebrity status.
She has been fending off the interest of international media, turning down TV and newspaper interviews. “I am just here to support Usain.to see him do well. We are swamped by requests for pictures by people from all over the world. We are coming to terms with what is happening but we are just waiting for the next races and praying for the best.”
She said the killer instinct that Usain Bolt is displaying on the track has been part of his character since he was a kid. “Usain is a guy who doesn’t like to lose. He has been like that since primary school. The world saw a bit of it when he went to the World Junior Championships and now they are witnessing it on the biggest stage of all.”
She described the moment when he broke the World 100 Metres record while winning Olympic gold as the highlight of her life. “It was just amazing.I can’t find the words to describe it. It was special.”
Jennifer Bolt was paying a courtesy call on Sports Minister, Olivia Grange, at the China World Hotel in Beijing. She was accompanied by Bolt’s manager Norman Peart and his girlfriend Mizicann “Mitzy” Evans.
Minister Grange commended Jennifer on the fine job she had done in raising Usain and urged her to guide him in securing his future through meaningful investments. She said: “Usain is in the moment of his life and while enjoys the success, he should ensure that he plans for the years ahead.”
Usain Bolt has lit up the Olympic Games with his performances on and off the track. His name rolls off the lips of the locals who erupt into a frenzy every time he performs his antics during race introductions. He has drawn criticism in the media, particularly from American journalists, who accused him of showboating and being disrespectful to his competitors by celebrating even before the races have been run.
But his mother says the stuff he does on the track are part and parcel of who he is. “Usain likes to clown around. That’s how he plays with me and with his girlfriend. It’s not unusual to find him wrestling with his dad. He’s having fun and that’s important.”
Usain has been performing the Jamaican dance move “Nuh Linga”, made popular by dancehall artiste Elephant man while he prepares in the blocks. The term “Nuh Linga” in Jamaican parlance means not to loiter or hang around and Usain has been showing that he’s a man in a hurry to secure a permanent place in the history books by winning three sprint gold medals at one Olympics.
Mitzy says dancing is one of Usain’s passions and he often spends time learning new moves from one of Jamaica’s most popular street dancers, Ding Dong.
Mitzy says she is enjoying the moment and having a great time in Beijing. “I just feel big. This is just awesome and I’m loving it.”
Tonight, Usain Bolt will be seeking to set the Bird’s Nest alight once more as he goes for gold in the 200 Metres. If successful, he will become the first athlete to achieve the sprint double at the Olympic Games, since American Carl Lewis did so 24 years ago.
Given his form going into the race, anticipation is now less about the result, but more about the time, the world record and the kind of celebration Jamaica’s top showman will give the world.
Usain turns 22 on Thursday, August 21 and both mother and girlfriend will be on hand to share the moment, although the celebrations might just be a bit muted, given that he still needs to seal the triple as part of Jamaica’s 4X100 Metres relay team.