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Minister of Information, Culture, Youth and Sports, Olivia Grange, has encouraged Jamaica’s youth to garner inspiration from the performance of the country’s athletes, at the Olympic Games in Beijing, China, in August.
“I want every young Jamaican girl and boy, to look at the achievements of Usain Bolt, Veronica Campbell-Brown, Asafa Powell, Shelly-Ann Fraser, Sherone Simpson, Melaine Walker, and others, and say, ‘you are my heroes and my heroines, I want to be just like you, and make my country proud’,” Miss Grange stressed.
She was speaking at a press conference, held at the Jamaica Pegasus in Kingston, following the arrival of World Record holder and Olympic champion, Usain Bolt, yesterday (September 8).
Miss Grange commended Usain for the way he performed, “for your confidence, your national pride, and most of all, the way you have taken your fame in true Jamaican style.”
In his response, Mr. Bolt thanked everyone for supporting him and vowed to continue making the country proud. “I can’t really explain how I feel, and I know the other guys are looking forward to coming home now. They are coming home earlier than they were supposed to, because they are really excited to come home. I’m happy I came home first, because I’ve been really looking forward to coming home for a long while now, and I’d just like to thank everybody for the support,” he said.
“You guys have been brilliant, you have supported us throughout the rough times and now that I have made the country proud, I know you guys are happy and I’ll continue to keep Jamaica on top. I’ll be working hard next year, just trying to stay on top, because it’s going to be hard. I’m really looking forward to the challenge, I’m going to work hard to keep the country proud,” he added.
Usain also thanked his coach, Glen Mills. “He’s the greatest. He has brought me from being injured to being a triple gold medallist. So I’m happy and I really thank you Glen Mills,” he said.
Chef de Mission to Beijing, Don Anderson, in his remarks, said he felt particularly privileged, “because having been to six consecutive Olympic Games, this is the finest bunch of athletes, not in terms of their performance, but in terms of the discipline, in terms of their commitment, and in terms of the focus they brought to their efforts during the Games.”
“There is no question that Usain’s achievement on the first major final of track and field, set the stage for the performance of the rest of the team. Every other athlete wanted to emulate Usain’s performance. We think you really were the catalyst for the tremendous achievements that were accomplished during the Games,” he added.
He pointed out that every 50 years or so, an athlete emerges on the world stage who is different from everybody else, “and I think, certainly, Usain Bolt is in that category. He’s a phenomenal athlete.”
During the conference, Usain was presented with a painting bearing his image by the artist, a teacher from Camperdown High School, Delroy Haye.