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London's Jamaicans Celebrate Olympic Wins

  • Selah Hennessy

LONDON — Jamaican sprinter Usain Bolt says he has become a “legend” after winning the 200-meter race at the London Olympics on Thursday, becoming the first sprinter to win gold in the 100 and the 200 at consecutive Olympics. At London's Brixton area, home to a large Jamaican community, Bolt’s legendary status is well-established.

Jamaicans were in high spirits the day after Usain Bolt won the gold.

Jamaican colors were plastered across flags, hats, and clothes and at the daily street market in Brixton, Bolt’s face smiled out from countless t-shirts and posters.

On Thursday Jamaica won the gold, silver, and bronze medals in the 200-meter dash.

Jonathan, who runs a Brixton music stall, said it was what he expected from his homeland.

“We all knew it was going to be a one, two, and three. So as far as I’m concerned you can’t beat no Jamaican,” Jonathan said.

Brixton in south London has one of Britain’s largest Jamaican communities. The expatriates started to arrive around six decades ago and have since become a major cultural force. Jamaican music, style, and food abound here.

Just last week the community celebrated 50 years since Jamaican independence. For them, Bolt’s win is the icing on the cake.

“Fifty years (of) independence was on the 6th of August. And then they won a treble gold, bronze, and silver - it was nice,” said one man.

At a Caribbean restaurant around the corner, Martin Roee was cooking up a Jamaican feast before the lunchtime rush. He said Olympic wins have been a boost for Jamaicans here in London.

“That’s what we are about in Jamaica. We are a proud people. Even though we are small but what better way to be seen. The world is watching and you are smashing all the records. That’s why I’m so proud to be Jamaican,” Roee said.

Running is something that ties all Jamaicans together, says waitress Tamika.

“As a Jamaican nation, we are all about running, we are all about sprinting. As a child growing up it’s about running. And for him to come again and do it - all the un-doubters had to be quiet now because he done it once again,” Tamika said.

And, in doing it, he’s made the 2012 Olympics a memorable Games -- not least of all for his fellow Jamaicans in London.



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