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Bolt and Blake, Jamaican Athletes in My Town

Updated on October 11, 2015
InspiringWriter profile image

As a published author and playwrite now based in China Ava blogs across various platforms.

Clock Tower in the Centre of Birmingham University
Clock Tower in the Centre of Birmingham University | Source


The excitement here is palpable.

The Jamaican and US Olympic teams are training just a few minutes drive from where I live.

Unfortunately, for the local and international press camped around Birmingham University, it's a case of so near but yet so far as the Jamaican athletes aren't yet open for business.

Becoming media darlings is obviously secondary to training right now.


We've heard that they think Birmingham is cold, which after the tropical heat of Jamaica and our rain soaked summer, is probably an accurate summarisation.

We've heard that they're getting down to business with early morning starts and lots of rest. They've set a date to talk to the media sometime next week, but the pressmen and the public are impatient. We want access to the Jamaican stars of track and field and we want it now.

We've heard that they've flown in their own chef to cook the food they're used to. Didn't anyone tell them that we have chefs of Jamaican origin right here in the city?

We've heard that some of the lesser known athletes left the campus grounds to take a tour of the city but, as Usain wasn't among them, there was no photo opportunity and no walk-about or congenial hand-shaking among the crowds.

We've heard that the Jamaican press corp have flown straight out of the Jamaican capital city of Kingston only to face locked doors and be told to exercise patience before they can speak to their own and we sympathise but, hey, we're all in the same boat.


Touching Distance

Academically I know that Usain is a hop, skip and a jump away, but I don't really feel it.

Nightly television documentaries show him training in the Jamaican countryside and review his international races.

Past greats such as American 200 metre runner Michael Johnson analyse and compare his every step, before analysing and comparing the accomplishments of his rivals; yes, the world's fastest man does have some serious competition.

Stick your head above the parapet and someone is going to take a swing at it,

Five Time Olympic Champion Mike Johnson
Five Time Olympic Champion Mike Johnson

Confession Time

I admit to driving past the grand university entrance slower than I need to, just in case Usain or Yohan or Asafa has decided to escape the confines of academia and pop out to the local area for a take-away meal.

But so far, no luck.

Instead my diligence is rewarded with irate drivers beeping at me to get out of their way.

I guess they've got a point, if the world's media can't get a glimpse then what chance do I have?

Under grads who haven't yet left for the summer have taken to jumping onto high walls with their electronic devices, all hoping to snap a You Tube moment.

They've been caught, stopped and sent on their way.

Members of the US Athletics Team and the First Lady
Members of the US Athletics Team and the First Lady

Across the Water

All of this is in stark contrast to the US athletic team who have opened their training sessions since the day they landed in my city.

They even have an athlete's rota for the daily press call, presumably so we won't get tired of seeing the same faces?

They've invited local school children to watch as they train, to join in with photo shoots and to enthusiastically sing their praises to cameras and reporters.

It's nice to see them, but I don't know who they are.

US Ladies Relay Team
US Ladies Relay Team

Confident Rivals

There are no famous names in evidence as yet.

They smile a lot and look super-trim with gleaming teeth, shiny hair and a great attitude and, they seem at home in our city's most prestigious university.

But, it has to be said, they don't have the mystical allure of the Jamaican team.

Could it be a case of too much exposure too soon?

Would I have found them more appealing if they'd held back just a little bit and made us wait for the great reveal?


Still Hoping

In the meantime I try to pick the right day to drive through the grounds so I can accidentally stumble upon the press conference of Usain et al.

I'll casually wave as I attract his attention by blasting out the latest Jamaican tune from my car.

He'll look over in recognition, being the DJ that he is, and smile at me and at Birmingham, showing that he is glad to be here, just as they all are.

Central Birmingham
Central Birmingham | Source

A Good Place to Be

We've welcomed both teams with open arms and done our best to ease their transition before we send them a hundred miles south to the greatest sporting event on earth.

London may be their destination but Birmingham received them first and, win or lose, I don't think that they will ever forget that.

10,000 metres Olympic champion Mo Farah and Olympian Usain Bolt
10,000 metres Olympic champion Mo Farah and Olympian Usain Bolt


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    • InspiringWriter profile image

      Ava Ming 3 years ago from Shenzhen, China

      Hi Quildon,

      yes it was frustrating to be 'so close and yet so far'!

      Glad you enjoyed.

    • quildon profile image

      Angela Joseph 3 years ago from Florida

      Isn't it frustrating when VIPs come to your backyard and you are not allowed even a glimpse of them? Oh, well, there's always TV and YouTube. Nice reminder of an event that brings great memories. Voted up.

    • InspiringWriter profile image

      Ava Ming 5 years ago from Shenzhen, China

      I'll have a look. Thanks again.

    • InspiringWriter profile image

      Ava Ming 5 years ago from Shenzhen, China

      Thanks Mintofo, sadly I only got to see them on TV, but they were still awesome! I'll check out your hub soon.

    • mintinfo profile image

      mintinfo 5 years ago

      Great hub, I hope you get a glimpse of the superstars soon. I have just written a hob on why Jamaicans run so fast