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The Queen of Rum salutes the King of Track & Field

Saturday, June 10, 2017

The queen of the rums, Joy Spence, is in love with the king of the track, Usain Bolt.

“I'm a track and field fanatic, I love Usain Bolt,” said Spence, J Wray and Nephew Limited's master blender.

This is not an unfamiliar emotional outpouring for track and field's fastest man. Bolt has received much admiration for his perfect finishes at major championships and is currently the 100 and 200 metres world record holder.

Spence, a trendsetter in her own right as the world's first and only female master blender in the rum-making business globally, will be on hand to witness Bolt's final hurrah on Jamaican soil, as he competes at today's JN Racers' Grand Prix.

J Wray and Nephew Limited is among the sponsors and the icon, who joined the company in 1981, expounded on her passion for Bolt and the sport. “I don't miss any track meet at the National Stadium. I'm right there for every meet, from the Basic Schools Champs right up to ISSA, and if we have the JAAA meets, trials, I don't miss any. I have a thing for track and field and at home, once I'm going through the channels and I see a track meet, even if it's 10 years old, I'm stuck watching it.”

And yet in all her years of watching, Spence is in awe of Bolt, exclaiming, “I've never seen an athlete with such great talent and skill and he just takes everything with ease! Sometimes I wonder if he really trains. “He seems to be able to go and have a good time at a party and have fun, then say 'I'm going to the track', while other athletes have to train, day and night — he just has this amazing talent.”

Spence also has a 'soft spot' for Bolt's training partner, Yohan Blake, owing to her association with his uncle, who staff nicknamed 'Fast Bill' for the way he carried out his duties at J Wray and Nephew.

“I have a very special soft spot for Yohan Blake and I think because I've watched him grow from high school, because his uncle, Mr Blake, used to be a contractor here at J Wray and Nephew. So he and I used to talk almost every day about what is Yohan doing, where is he going, when he went to Penn Relays for the first time,” shared Spence.

“So I follow all of our athletes, I take great pride in our athletes and their achievements. For such a small country we've made such a great impact on the world stage, of course, led by Usain.”

The imminence of his departure compares to a missing ingredient.

“It's going to create quite a void for Jamaica because at the moment, as far as I'm concerned, with the male athletes there's quite a gap between Usain and the others. I see much better potential for the females and, looking at ISSA, the women have a great future. I see some amazing female talent coming up in high school,” analysed Spence, sizing up the potential for what could be the makings of an affinity with another track star for the JWN master blender.