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OLYMPIC FEVER - Jamaicans ready to celebrate

BY KIMMO MATTHEWS Observer staff reporter matthewsk@jamaicaobserver.com

Friday, July 27, 2012    

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JAMAICANS across the Corporate Area spent yesterday making final preparations to view, with the rest of the world, the start of the Games of the XXX Olympiad in London, England, today.

The 2012 summer Games will run to August 12 and during that time the delegation of local athletes, led by triple world record holder Usain Bolt, will be looking to improve on performances at the 2008 Beijing Games, where Jamaica bagged 11 medals -- six gold, three silver and two bronze.

The historic performance in Beijing, particularly the gold medal haul, saw wild celebration in town squares and on just about every street corner in Jamaica.

"Right now a big [things] we planning to put in place when the Olympics kick off the real and proper way," said a man who gave his name only as Dwayne, who lives in August Town, St Andrew.

He was among a group of men, some with small Jamaican flags in hand, gathered outside a small shop in an area called Deuces Corner. They said they will be placing small flags throughout the community, while a small television will be put inside the shop to ensure that customers do not miss out on any of the events which the local athletes are expected to dominate.

At the other end of St Andrew in Hannah Town, there were high expectations among a group of men sitting at Upsetters Corner, metres away from the Hannah Town Police Station.

"Right now, yuh nuh si nothing a happen; come the start of the Olympics things a guh change up. Yuh a guh si wi flag and all dem tings in the area," a man who identified himself only as Kevin told the Jamaica Observer.

"Right now we a guh kick off di celebrations. We [are] planning to celebrate with a party right on the corner. All are invited," another man interjected.

In sections of downtown Kingston vendors were busy selling flags and other black, green and gold-coloured paraphernalia.

"Right now see we flags deh put up already. When the event start the right way a pure tings," one vendor said of the likely wild celebrations.

In Beijing, when Usain Bolt won two individual gold medals — setting new world records over the 100 and 200-metre distances — there was widespread celebration. The celebration grew when he, along with Asafa Powell, Michael Frater and Nesta Carter, lowered the world record, earning another gold medal, in the 4x100-metre relay.

There were also lots of cheers, singing, dancing and pot-cover banging when Jamaica earned a historic one-two-two in the women's 100-metre event, with Shelley-Ann Fraser copping gold and Sherone Simpson and Kerron Stewart both winning silver medals; and when Veronica Campbell Brown and Melaine Walker topped the 200-metre and 400-metre hurdle events, respectively.

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