Jamaica jubilant as lightning strikes thrice in men’s Olympic 200m
Bolt, Blake and Weir grab gold, silver and bronze in electrifying style.
KINGSTON, Jamaica, Friday Aug 10, 2012 – Jamaica was struck by lightning yesterday and not a soul complained. On the contrary, wild celebrations erupted in the streets of Kingston and across the country as the island's top sprinters pulled off a historic clean sweep of the 200 metres at the London Olympic Games.
Countless jubilant Jamaicans danced in the streets, honked horns, waved flags, screamed with delight and hugged each other, after the black, green and gold Jamaican colours swept past the finish line and into the pages of history.
Usain "Lightning" Bolt, and Yohan "The Beast" Blake – or the "Double B" duo as they have been dubbed in their homeland – left the rest of the field behind on Thursday to grab gold and silver, just days after chalking-up the same feat in the 100 metres.
Bolt, 25, realised his dream of achieving living legend status by becoming the first man to complete the sprint double at back-to-back Olympics.
Adding to the glory, a third Jamaican, first-time Olympian Warren Weir, won bronze in the 200 metres, consolidating Jamaica's dominance in the sprint events.
Now, expectations are rising that Jamaica will take gold again in the 4 x 100 metre relay final to round off what is shaping up to be the most successful Olympics in Jamaican history.
Prime Minister Portia Simpson Miller, who was shown on television sharing in the joy as the three Jamaicans passed the finish line, praised the athletes.
"Once again our athletes have done us proud," she said. "This is a wonderful day for Jamaica's athletics."
Opposition Leader Andrew Holness also joined in the accolades. "They have made us proud and are the toast of the world this evening," Holness said.
"So emphatic is the stamp he has placed on the sprints at the Beijing and London Olympics that there can be no denying that Bolt has cemented himself as a legend of the game and a true exponent of sporting genius," Holness said of Bolt.
Bolt was already a legend in his homeland before his latest victories, and is the island's top celebrity after reggae icon Bob Marley. Bolt's signature archer-like pose has become a symbol of Jamaican pride.
In the last week the number of followers on Bolt's Twitter page shot up from 700,000 to more than 1 million.
"Millions of dreams need strong shoulders" reads one giant 50-by-60-foot billboard on the exterior of a tall building in Kingston featuring Bolt's face juxtaposed on the Jamaican flag.
The Olympic triumph added special lustre to Jamaica's celebration of its 50th anniversary of independence, with gold in both the men's and women's 100 metre finals amongst its many victories.
Athletes are held in high regard in Jamaica, which has a long record of Olympic success since its first participation in the 1948 London Games.
At the 2008 Games in Beijing, Jamaica had its biggest medal haul, taking home six golds, three silvers and two bronzes, ahead of Canada (population 34 million) and Brazil (population 196 million). Bolt won three golds - in the 100 and 200 metre competitions, as well as the 4 x 100 metre relay - all in world record times.