News / Europe

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.

  • Usain Bolt celebrates winning gold alongside silver medalist Yohan Blake, both of Jamaica, following the men's 100-meter final.
  • Usain Bolt also won the men's 200m final on Thursday.
  • Germany's Robert Harting celebrates winning the men's discus throw final by grabbing a German flag, running a lap of the track over the hurdles, and trying to wrench one of the burning torches from the Olympic cauldron.
  • Ashton Eaton, a 24-year-old from Oregon, wins in the men's decathlon 100m heat. Brazil's Luiz Alberto de Araujo is on the left, and Oleksiy Kasyanov of Ukraine on the right.
  • Dayron Robles (center), of Cuba, pulls up after injuring his leg while competing with Aries Merritt (L) and Jason Richardson of the U.S. during the men's 110m hurdles final.
  • Sarah Attar, the first woman from Saudi Arabia to compete in Olympic track and field, runs in her women's 800m round 1 heat.
  • China's Liu Xiang falls after hitting a hurdle in his men's 110m hurdles round 1 heat, clutching the same right Achilles tendon that doomed his chances at the Beijing Games in 2008.
  • Australia's Sally Pearson won gold in the women's 100m hurdles final.
  • David Lekuta Rudisha (right), of Kenya, runs ahead of Puerto Rico's Wesley Vazquez. Rudisha shattered his own world record in the fastest ever 800m race.
  • Lolo Jones of the U.S. clears a hurdle with Canada's Phylicia George. Jones is the American record holder in the 60m hurdles with a time of 7.72. She came in fourth in the 100m hurdles final in London.
  • Aries Merritt of the U.S. celebrates after winning gold in the men's 110m hurdles final.

  • Meseret Defar of Ethiopia, after she won the women's 5000m final, Friday, August 10, 2012.
  • Jordan Ernest Burroughs of the U.S. (in red) fights with Canada's Matthew Judah Gentry in the Men's 74kg Freestyle wrestling.
  • Montenegro's water polo players watch the final seconds of their team's loss to Croatia.
  • Tunisia's Oussama Mellouli swims on his way to gold during the men's 10-kilometer swimming marathon
  • Spain's team performs in the synchronized swimming free routine final.
  • Israel's Neta Rivkin competes using the ribbon in her individual all-around gymnastics qualification match.
  • Australia's Jesse Phillips, left, and Stephen Bird paddle through the men's kayak double 200m semifinal.
  • Sweden's team players celebrate after defeating Hungary in their men's semi-final match at the Basketball Arena.
  • Oussama Mellouli of Tunisia reacts after winning gold in the men's 10km marathon swimming at Hyde Park.
  • Visitors' shadows cast as they stroll through the ExCel arena in London.
  • Latvia's Maris Strombergs bows after winning the men's BMX event.

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