Bolt Awarded ambassadorship and highway
BY ALICIA DUNKLEY staff reporter
Wednesday, September 16, 2009
USAIN Bolt, the world's fastest man who holds world records for both the 100m and 200m, has been awarded his nation's fourth highest honour - the Order of Jamaica.
Prime Minister Bruce Golding, who made the announcement amid applause in the Jamaican legislature yesterday, also said Cabinet on Monday gave approval for Bolt to be appointed an ambassador-at-large and be accorded full diplomatic status.
BOLT... holds both the 100-metre and 200-metre world records
In addition, the Government said it will rename Highway 2000 - Jamaica's high-speed expressway - the Usain Bolt Highway in honour of the international track star.
The Order of Jamaica entitles members and honorary members to wear the Insignia of the Order as a decoration, be addressed as 'honourable' and use the post nominal letters 'OJ' (members) or 'OJ (Hon)' for honorary members.
Bolt, who became the first man in Olympic history to break the 100m and 200m world records - at last year's Beijing summer Olympics - bettered both accomplishments at the World Athletics Championships in Berlin, Germany last month to hold two of the most prestigious world records in athletics - 9.58 seconds in the 100-metre dash and 19.19 seconds in the 200 metres.
He also shares in a third world record, the 37.10 seconds clocked by Jamaica's 4x100-metre relay team in Beijing last year. Bolt ran the third leg of the relay.
Prime Minister Golding said 23-year-old Bolt, who will be the youngest ever recipient of the Order of Jamaica, was more than just one of the greatest athletes of all time and deserved the accolades being showered on him.
"He is more than that. His endearing personality, charisma and passion for his country make him a superb ambassador of Jamaica," the prime minister said.
At the same time, Golding singled out hurdlers Brigitte Foster-Hylton and Danny McFarlane for their determination and performance at the Berlin championships.
Foster-Hylton, who was on the brink of retiring from the sport last year, rebounded to take gold in the 100-metre hurdles, while the 37-year-old McFarlane finished in sixth place in the final of the 400-metre hurdles.
Opposition Leader Portia Simpson Miller, in responding to the prime minister's announcement, said she was proud that Bolt had been given full diplomatic status as an ambassador of Jamaica, noting that the athlete was an inspiration to many, especially the young, both in Jamaica and abroad.
"I know he will continue to be as humble as he is," Simpson Miller said.
She also expressed concern over the capital gains being made off Bolt's success, much of which does not benefit his island home.
"We need to look at how we can legislate to protect our athletes," she said. "Everywhere you go, something is being sold for Bolt, but not to the benefit of Jamaica."
House Speaker Delroy Chuck called for the lower chamber to fulfil its promise to invite the lanky runner to one of its sittings if he broke the world records.
Arrangements are being made for Bolt and his fellow athletes who participated at the World Championships to be honoured during a series of celebrations next month.
What do you these awards to him at this time though?