Sport

Scotland prepares for their new king Usain Bolt

Saturday, July 26, 2014    

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GLASGOW, Scotland -- It seems, and understandably so, that the Commonwealth Games is a pull for royalty.

Just these past couple of days the Glasgow Games has had Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth, her husband Prince Phillip and the monarch's son and heir apparent Prince Charles inside the athletes' village.

Some athletes, including two from Jamaica, were privileged to greet and have lunch with The Queen.

But another royalty is arriving here today. No disrespect to the British crown, but this king, though he was born on an island from humble beginning, surveys a greater kingdom -- the world.

The monumental ruler of track and field, and one of sport's most iconic figures -- Usain Bolt -- arrives here today. Already, there is a buzz around town.

The Scottish people, iffy over their future of whether or not they want to sever the umbilical cord that binds them to Britain, for the duration of the games may have found a new king. And how they seem ready to kneel before him.

His images are everywhere -- the main airport, train stations, billboards, on buses, you name it. Bolt has conquered this country.

And now his subjects wait with bated breath for him to not only arrive, but for him to appear at Hampden Park where this star is expected to do what Usain Bolt does best -- electrify crowds and endear flocks to him.

"I think it is stellar (that he is coming to Glasgow) as Usain Bolt is one of the great stars of any games and he illuminated London with his performance. I know that the former IOC president Jacques Rogge had said that no athlete is bigger than the games, but it was almost true for Usain Bolt," said Philip Barker, a freelance sports journalist and historian.

Barker, who does work for the BBC, seems to capture the essence of Bolt, perhaps better than anyone has.

"Usain Bolt is not only known by sports people, but by everyone. He's the face of the world.

"He's a figure that transcends sports... the crowd loves him, journalists love him with his great personality, so to have him here is great and he's going to complete his set here as he has never won a Commonwealth Games medal, and he would be continuing a great tradition started with Don Quarrie back in 1970, which was his first major medal at the Games in Edinburgh," said Barker, an Englishman.

The Commonwealth Games, though a major tournament in its own right, lacks the prestige of the iconic Olympic Games and the World Championships on the athletics side, so it needs a bit of stardust to bring it to life. Bolt brings that, and a lot of it.

"He competes in the right way, competes with a smile and he embodies the friendly games really," Barker ended.

Robert Urquart, a Scottish police officer, believes the lad from Trelawny, Jamaica, will enrich the games.

"I think Usain Bolt will impact the games because he is a huge star. I think we can agree that he is the greatest athlete that ever was. He will impact the games in a big way with his talent and personality," he noted.

Andy Thompson, a financial consultant, thinks Glasgow will be better for the world record holder visiting his city.

"I think Bolt being in Glasgow is going to be a huge boost to the games and it will be great excitement to see him because he is known throughout the world as the fastest man, therefore everyone wants to see him, so it's definitely a boost for the games," he said while attending judo at the SECC arena yesterday.

Civil engineer, Rowan Swallow, is on the same wavelength as Thompson.

"I think he is a big name and a big draw, so when you look at it, I see him coming here as bonus."

Layton Plummer, who is visiting the city of 600,000 citizens from his home in Birmingham, England, has mixed feeling about the Glasgow coronation of the Jamaican king.

"I think it will be a boost for the games although it will be disappointing that he will not be in the individual 100m or the 200m. I really think if he is coming here, he should be doing an individual event.

"That aside, I think he being here will be a tremendous help because he's a major athletics name and he is striving to be a legend," said Plummer, a social care manager.

To these Scottish people, Bolt is already of legendary standing in the world of athletics, and only that matters to them right now.

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