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Page last updated at 10:53 GMT, Sunday, 17 August 2008 11:53 UK

Jamaicans hail sprint king Bolt

By Claire Stocks
BBC Sport in Beijing


Usain Bolt
Bolt's run has made him one of the hottest properties in world sport

Jamaica has been celebrating its first Olympic 100m gold after Usain Bolt's record-breaking victory in Beijing.

Bolt cruised over the line in the Bird's Nest stadium in 9.69 secs, one of the biggest winning margins ever.

Jamaicans had gathered at big screens throughout the island to watch, and his victory sparked wild celebrations.

"It's a wonderful day for Jamaica. It was a stunning performance and we're so proud of you," Jamaica's prime minister Bruce Golding told Bolt by telephone.

The last Jamaican man to win a sprint medal was Donald Quarrie in the 200m at the Montreal Olympics in 1976.

Bolt, 21, was the toast of his sleepy home village of Sherwood Content, where his father Wellesley was watching.

"Once he got going I know they were not gonna catch him. He is such a strong young man. I know he will take more gold," he said.

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Golding said he is planning a massive welcome home ceremony for Bolt and members of the Jamaican contingent - and there is a talk of a day's national holiday if the Jamaican team's medal rush continues.

"The Games are not yet over and we expect a lot more from the team in the days ahead, but I can assure you that we are planning a massive welcome home party for all of you," he said.

Bolt is in action again on Monday, running in the heats of his specialist event, the 200m.

Mike Fennell, head of Jamaica's National Olympic Committee, who was in the stadium in Beijing to watch the race, said: "We have chances in the men's 200m, women's 200m, the women's 100m hurdles, the men's 400m hurdles, the women's 400m, and all four relays.

"So we have a lot of expectations that there are more medals to be won."

Olympian Pablo McNeil, who guided Bolt though his high school career, was ecstatic at his protege's performance.

Usain Bolt is the first Jamaican to win 100m Olympic gold
He's a young athlete, he's having a great time and this sport of all sports needs that - he's carefree, he's got the talent

200m world-record holder Michael Johnson

"I knew he had it in him. I can't wait for him to break the 200m record and then run 42 seconds in the 400m," McNeil said.

"He has taken Jamaica on his back, and demolished the whole world. That is the respect to be given to the greatest sprinter of all time."

Edmund Bartlett, tourism minister for Jamaica, who was also in the Bird's Nest, said: "It was euphoria, it was the greatest feeling I've had in all my life. because Jamaica has never had the joy and glory of a gold medal in the 100m sprint in my 60 years.

"And in addition to getting our first gold, he broke the world record. It is an experience that is almost unspeakable. It brought me out in goose bumps.

"That wasn't just my feeling, but the whole of Jamaica. I got reports from the districts and cities back home, where people were out on the streets hailing the victory."

After Bolt crossed the line in his sensational world-record time, turning to the crowd for affirmation of his margin of victory, he jogged round the track to the Jamaican contingent on the far side of the stadium.

The world's media greet Usain Bolt
Bolt is now the centre of intense media interest

As he hugged fans and friends, the Bird's Nest organisers chose the moment to pipe some reggae music around the public address system.

"It was good old vintage reggae, it was tremendous of the organisers they were able to find a piece of music that helped us celebrate," said Bartlett.

"We are expecting at least another five medals from the track and we feel very confident. If we do that then I would not be surprised if we declared a national holiday."

Some people have criticised Bolt for showboating over the line with his arms spread wide, but BBC pundit and 200m world record-holder Michael Johnson, said: "It's ridiculous to say he was disrespectful in the way he finished.

"He's a young athlete, he's having a great time and this sport of all sports needs that - he's carefree, he's got the talent. He did not do it in a disrespectful way, he is just excited about his sport."

The Jamaican camp had been unhappy at the level of scrutiny the drug testers have put on their athletes since arriving in Beijing, with 32 tests carried out on the squad according to the team's chef de mission Don Anderson.

And Fenner denied the margin of victory raised questions about the race.

"Our athletes have been tested constantly.

"When Bolt broke the world record at the National Championships, and at all the championships in which he has participated in between, he and the other Jamaican sprinters (have been tested).

"They have been tested more times than any other athletes around - what more can you ask? It is just that Usain is an outstanding natural athlete."


Athletics medals table

Sunday, 24 August 2008 10:17 UK
Rank Country Gold Silver Bronze TOTAL
1 also show each event results forUSA 7 9 7 23
Men's 100m 0 0 1
Men's 110m Hurdles 0 1 1
Men's 200m 0 1 1
Men's 400m 1 1 1
Men's 400m Hurdles 1 1 1
Men's 4 x 400m Relay 1 0 0
Men's Decathlon 1 0 0
Men's Shot Put 0 1 0
Women's 10000m 0 0 1
Women's 100m Hurdles 1 0 0
Women's 200m 0 1 0
Women's 400m 0 0 1
Women's 400m Hurdles 0 1 0
Women's 4 x 400m Relay 1 0 0
Women's Discus Throw 1 0 0
Women's Heptathlon 0 1 0
Women's Pole Vault 0 1 0
2 also show each event results forRussia 6 5 7 18
Men's 20km Walk 1 0 0
Men's 4 x 400m Relay 0 0 1
Men's 50km Walk 0 0 1
Men's High Jump 1 0 1
Men's Pole Vault 0 1 0
Women's 20km Walk 1 0 0
Women's 3000m Steeplechase 1 0 1
Women's 4 x 100m Relay 1 0 0
Women's 4 x 400m Relay 0 1 0
Women's Heptathlon 0 0 1
Women's High Jump 0 0 1
Women's Javelin Throw 0 1 0
Women's Long Jump 0 1 0
Women's Pole Vault 1 0 1
Women's Triple Jump 0 1 0
3 also show each event results forJamaica 6 3 2 11
Men's 100m 1 0 0
Men's 200m 1 0 0
Men's 4 x 100m Relay 1 0 0
Women's 100m 1 2 0
Women's 200m 1 0 1
Women's 400m 0 1 0
Women's 400m Hurdles 1 0 0
Women's 4 x 400m Relay 0 0 1
4 also show each event results forKenya 5 5 4 14
Men's 10000m 0 0 1
Men's 1500m 0 1 0
Men's 3000m Steeplechase 1 0 1
Men's 5000m 0 1 1
Men's 800m 1 0 1
Men's Marathon 1 0 0
Women's 1500m 1 0 0
Women's 3000m Steeplechase 0 1 0
Women's 800m 1 1 0
Women's Marathon 0 1 0
5 also show each event results forEthiopia 4 1 2 7
Men's 10000m 1 1 0
Men's 5000m 1 0 0
Men's Marathon 0 0 1
Women's 10000m 1 0 0
Women's 5000m 1 0 1
6 also show each event results forBelarus 1 3 3 7
Men's Decathlon 0 1 0
Men's Hammer Throw 0 1 1
Men's Shot Put 0 0 1
Women's Hammer Throw 1 0 0
Women's Shot Put 0 1 1
7 also show each event results forCuba 1 2 2 5
Men's 110m Hurdles 1 0 0
Men's Decathlon 0 0 1
Men's Long Jump 0 0 1
Women's Discus Throw 0 1 0
Women's Hammer Throw 0 1 0
8 also show each event results forAustralia 1 2 1 4
Men's 20km Walk 0 0 1
Men's 50km Walk 0 1 0
Men's Pole Vault 1 0 0
Women's 100m Hurdles 0 1 0
9 also show each event results forGreat Britain 1 2 1 4
Men's High Jump 0 1 0
Men's Triple Jump 0 1 0
Women's 400m 1 0 0
Women's 400m Hurdles 0 0 1
10 also show each event results forUkraine 1 1 3 5
Men's Pole Vault 0 0 1
Women's 1500m 0 1 1
Women's Discus Throw 0 0 1
Women's Heptathlon 1 0 0
11 also show each event results forBelgium 1 1 0 2
Women's 4 x 100m Relay 0 1 0
Women's High Jump 1 0 0
12 also show each event results forNorway 1 1 0 2
Men's Javelin Throw 1 0 0
Women's 20km Walk 0 1 0
13 also show each event results forPoland 1 1 0 2
Men's Discus Throw 0 1 0
Men's Shot Put 1 0 0
14 also show each event results forItaly 1 0 1 2
Men's 50km Walk 1 0 0
Women's 20km Walk 0 0 1
15 also show each event results forNew Zealand 1 0 1 2
Men's 1500m 0 0 1
Women's Shot Put 1 0 0
16 also show each event results forBahrain 1 0 0 1
Men's 1500m 1 0 0
17 also show each event results forBrazil 1 0 0 1
Women's Long Jump 1 0 0
18 also show each event results forCameroon 1 0 0 1
Women's Triple Jump 1 0 0
19 also show each event results forCzech Republic 1 0 0 1
Women's Javelin Throw 1 0 0
20 also show each event results forEstonia 1 0 0 1
Men's Discus Throw 1 0 0
21 also show each event results forPanama 1 0 0 1
Men's Long Jump 1 0 0
22 also show each event results forPortugal 1 0 0 1
Men's Triple Jump 1 0 0
23 also show each event results forRomania 1 0 0 1
Women's Marathon 1 0 0
24 also show each event results forSlovenia 1 0 0 1
Men's Hammer Throw 1 0 0
25 also show each event results forTrinidad & Tob 0 2 0 2
Men's 100m 0 1 0
Men's 4 x 100m Relay 0 1 0
26 also show each event results forTurkey 0 2 0 2
Women's 10000m 0 1 0
Women's 5000m 0 1 0
27 also show each event results forBahamas 0 1 1 2
Men's 4 x 400m Relay 0 1 0
Men's Triple Jump 0 0 1
28 also show each event results forMorocco 0 1 1 2
Men's Marathon 0 1 0
Women's 800m 0 0 1
29 also show each event results forCroatia 0 1 0 1
Women's High Jump 0 1 0
30 also show each event results forEcuador 0 1 0 1
Men's 20km Walk 0 1 0
31 also show each event results forFrance 0 1 0 1
Men's 3000m Steeplechase 0 1 0
32 also show each event results forLatvia 0 1 0 1
Men's Javelin Throw 0 1 0
33 also show each event results forSouth Africa 0 1 0 1
Men's Long Jump 0 1 0
34 also show each event results forSudan 0 1 0 1
Men's 800m 0 1 0
35 also show each event results forChina 0 0 2 2
Women's Hammer Throw 0 0 1
Women's Marathon 0 0 1
36 also show each event results forNigeria 0 0 2 2
Women's 4 x 100m Relay 0 0 1
Women's Long Jump 0 0 1
37 also show each event results forCanada 0 0 1 1
Women's 100m Hurdles 0 0 1
38 also show each event results forFinland 0 0 1 1
Men's Javelin Throw 0 0 1
39 also show each event results forGermany 0 0 1 1
Women's Javelin Throw 0 0 1
40 also show each event results forGreece 0 0 1 1
Women's Triple Jump 0 0 1
41 also show each event results forJapan 0 0 1 1
Men's 4 x 100m Relay 0 0 1
42 also show each event results forLithuania 0 0 1 1
Men's Discus Throw 0 0 1

Olympics venues map

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Find out about the Beijing athletics and football venue

see also
Bolt surges to gold in new record
16 Aug 08 |  Athletics
Who's the greatest?
17 Aug 08 |  Olympics
Proud Jamaica awaits 100m showdown
15 Aug 08 |  Americas
Jamaica concern over doping tests
13 Aug 08 |  Athletics
Olympics blog
07 Aug 08 |  Olympics
Beijing 2008
14 Feb 08 |  Olympics
Find your local athletics club
13 Oct 05 |  Get Involved


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