Usain Bolt
Usain Bolt Photo credit: © Philippe Fitte for IAAF & © Giancarlo Colombo for IAAF

What will happen to Jamaica’s Track and Field after the king of the track, Usain Bolt retires? Who will take up his mantle?

As in anything in life, we should always be grateful to be able to witness something special. Bolt (UB) is of a pedigree only few will ever be able to emulate. There is a system in Jamaica that produces greatness like UB, Asafa Powell, Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce, Merlene Ottey, Juliet Cuthbert, Grace Jackson, Donald Quarrie (DQ), Elaine Thompson and the list goes on and on. You may wonder why now the fuss about UB leaving, after all, we have been a great success in the world arena since our entrance in 1948. I will say this, there will be no space to fill after UB leaves the sport, because the space he currently occupies will never be filled by anyone else, no matter what are their achievements.

There is a reason why people still talk about Jesse Owens, Pele and Maradona, Brian Lara and Michael Jordan. It is not because, there have not been other athletes who are better than them, but it is the manner in which they have changed the perception of the events they are involved in. They bring people to the televisions, radios and now, the internet like no one else can. They have people aspiring to want to do things they have never done before. The world loves inspiration, and this is a core part of humanity, like the arts and music, UB has been able to capture many imaginations. It will be an adjustment not having him in the sport, many will miss watching him compete, including me.

However, it is time we appreciate the great vehicle that has allowed for us to enjoy watching the wonderful accomplishment of this wonder. Jamaican track and field has become what Brazil is to world football. What we must not do, is to just rue the fact that Usain Bolt is leaving, but with him stepping away, we can continue to grow and bring forth new and exciting talents for years to come.

Jamaica, Usain is a beacon that will inspire many a great Jamaican and world athletes for years to come; like an anomaly he has reshaped the sporting world. The painters of the renaissance period of works are irreplaceable, even after death. Their artworks are still masterpieces today; they did not create a vacuum, but paved the way for more great artists to follow. With the strokes of their brushes they have left us in awe, so is Usain Bolt to Jamaica’s Golden era of track and field. We should be thankful to the heavens, that God has blessed us to witness this show.


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