Without a doubt, Usain Bolt has become a living legend. He has provided not only Jamaica, but a huge global audience with unforgettable golden moments in sporting history.
He has proved himself to be the embodiment of all that is unique about our wonderful country — Jamaica — that mystique of excellence that continues to befuddle and fascinate the world.
Like all patriotic Jamaicans everywhere in the world at this time, I am enormously proud of the achievements of Usain and all the other members of Jamaica's squad to the 2012 Olympics.
I am deeply moved by the very obvious love of country that drives these men and women to pursue and achieve excellence. They are living proof that Jamaica is an extraordinary country and that if we give it our best shot, we can rock the world and become a prosperous nation.
Over the years, much time and considerable resources have been spent by successive governments, various organisations and individuals to promote Jamaica and build brand recognition. While these efforts have been substantial, they pale in comparison to the recognition for Jamaica that has come from the entry of Usain Bolt on to the world stage. His name and the name of Jamaica are on the lips of peoples all over the world, making him one of the most recognisable faces on the planet.
The achievements of Bolt and other members of Jamaica's 2012 Olympic squad have set the stage for a tremendous fillip for Brand Jamaica and the basis for solid commercial benefit for the nation.
The potential for tourism, agriculture and exports as a whole is tremendous. What is now needed is a strategic marketing plan to take advantage of the goodwill that has been created — goodwill that must be second only to the advantage gained by the hosts of the successful Olympics, Great Britain.
The minister of tourism and his team have made a good start with the portfolio. It is now time for the Tourist Board, JAMPRO and all the other relevant agencies to respond to the great opportunity presented by the performance of Jamaica at the 2012 Olympics.
The country's marketing machinery must move to another level in order to transform goodwill into dollars and cents. A strategic master plan must be devised to empower every feasible Jamaican export; every legitimate means of earning foreign exchange that can help Jamaica to earn its way out of its current predicament.
This is an unprecedented opportunity to reap economic benefit for Jamaica. It must not be squandered.
Gordon "Butch" Stewart