Originally published in the Jamaica Gleaner Newspaper on Sunday, August 17, 2008
Jamaica's Usain Bolt created Olympic history for Jamaica as he streaked to the gold medal in the 100m final yesterday. Here are some official reactions.
# PRIME MINISTER BRUCE GOLDING
"It's a wonderful day for Jamaica and you have done us proud. It was a stunning performance and we are so proud of you. The games are not yet over and we expect a lot more from the team in the days ahead, but I can assure you that we are planning a massive welcome- home party for all of you."
# OLIVIA' BABSY' GRANGE
"I congratulate Usain and expect that he will continue to excel because he is committed to his sport and himself. We now look forward to his performances in the 200 metres as we believe that he will return another stellar performance."
She told Asafa Powell, who finished down the track in fifth place in 9.95 seconds: "I know you are disappointed, but you have done Jamaica proud over the years and we will always salute you. It is never easy when you don't meet your own expectations, but we are still solidly behind you because you have proven yourself time and time again."
# PJ PATTERSON:
"It is a truly outstanding achievement for one who has come out of the bowels of rural Jamaica and has fulfilled the promise he showed from early years ... My thoughts go out to Asafa Powell and I would like to see him take home a gold and the only way he can do that now is to be a part of the winning relay team."
# PORTIA SIMPSON MILLER
"Their success shall stand for all times as tangible proof that our investment in the creative talents of our youth is the cornerstone for national development."
Usain Bolt set a new 100m world record by clocking 9.72 seconds at the Reebok Grand Prix meeting in New York.
The 21-year-old Jamaican, who won silver in the 200m at last year's World Championships, was running the 100m for just the fifth time.
Bolt beats the previous best of 9.74 set by compatriot Asafa Powell.
"I wasn't looking for a world record but it was there for the taking so I just went out there and ran my best race," he said.
Bolt beat Tyson Gay into second place, with the American running a personal best of 9.85.
The 6ft 5in Bolt made the track world sit up and take notice on 3 May when he clocked the second-fastest 100m time in history, 9.76 seconds.
Bolt has made no secret of the fact that he sees himself as a 200m specialist and earlier in the week he was still undecided if he would even enter the 100m Jamaican Olympic trials.
However, after becoming the fastest man on the planet he confirmed he would now double up in Beijing: "I'm definitely going to run the 100 in the Olympics.
"I've just got to concentrate now and work on my 200 some more, because I haven't been doing a lot of 200 work."
And despite setting the world record, Bolt still considers the Olympics to be the big prize.
"I don't think there's any comparison between the two," he said. "You've got to be Olympic champion or world champion to really count.
"Tomorrow if someone comes and runs faster than me I'm no longer the fastest man in the world. If you're the Olympic champion then they have to wait four more years to get you again.
"I think the Olympics is the biggest thing, so I'm looking for that, definitely."
Bolt has primarily used the shorter distance to improve his start and admitted he was happy there had been a false start the first time he went into the blocks.
"I was glad of that first false start," he said. "My first start wasn't that good but I knew if I got Tyson on the start I would have a better chance of winning.
"Tyson and I aren't really good at starting so, my coach said concentrate on your drive (out of the blocks) and transition phase, get it right and just take it from there and I did exactly that."
He added: "I got out well. I've been working on my start for a while. I think I did good work today on my start. I'm just happy with myself.
100m RECORD EVOLUTION 9.72 U Bolt, New York 2008 9.74 A Powell, Rieti 2007 9.77 A Powell, Athens 2005 9.79 M Greene, Athens 1999 9.84 D Bailey, Atlanta 1996 9.85 L Burrell, Lausanne 1994 9.86 C Lewis, Tokyo 1991 9.90 L Burrell, New York 1991 9.92 C Lewis, Seoul 1988 9.93 C Smith, Colorado 1983 9.95 J Hines, Mexico 1968
LOS ANGELES (Reuters) – Pop giant Michael Jackson, who took to the stage as a child star and set the world dancing to exuberant rhythms for decades, died on Thursday, TMZ website reported. He was 50.
There was no official confirmation of the reported death and spokespersons for Jackson could not be reached for comment.
"We've just learned Michael Jackson has died," TMZ said.
"Michael suffered a cardiac arrest earlier this afternoon at his Holmby Hills home and paramedics were unable to revive him. We're told when paramedics arrived Jackson had no pulse and they never got a pulse back," the entertainment site said.
It added, "A source tells us Jackson was dead when paramedics arrived."
Earlier, the Los Angeles Times said the singer had been rushed to a Los Angeles-area hospital by fire department paramedics who found him not breathing when they arrived at the singer's home.
The newspaper said paramedics performed cardiopulmonary resuscitation at the scene before taking him to the UCLA Medical Center hospital.
Jackson had been due to start a series of comeback concerts in London on July 13 running until March 2010. The singer, whose hits included "Thriller" and "Billie Jean," had been rehearsing in the Los Angeles area for the past two months.
The shows for the 50 London concerts sold out within minutes of going on sale in March.
His lifetime record sales tally is believed to be around 750 million, which, added to the 13 Grammy Awards he received, makes him one of the most successful entertainers of all time.
He lived as a virtual recluse since his acquittal in 2005 on charges of child molestation.
There were concerns about Jackson's health in recent years but the promoters of the London shows, AEG Live, said in March that Jackson had passed a 4-1/2 hour physical examination with independent doctors.
CHILD STAR TO MEGASTAR
Jackson was born on August 29, 1958, in Gary, Indiana, the seventh of nine children. Five Jackson boys -- Jackie, Tito, Jermaine, Marlon and Michael -- first performed together at a talent show when Michael was 6. They walked off with first prize and went on to become a best-selling band, The Jackson Five, and then The Jackson 5.
Jackson made his first solo album in 1972, and released "Thriller" in 1982, which became a smash hit that yielded seven top-10 singles. The album sold 21 million copies in the United States and at least 27 million worldwide.
The next year, he unveiled his signature "moonwalk" dance move while performing "Billie Jean" during an NBC special.
In 1994, Jackson married Elvis Presley's only child, Lisa Marie, but the marriage ended in divorce in 1996. Jackson married Debbie Rowe the same year and had two children, before splitting in 1999. The couple never lived together.
Jackson has three children named Prince Michael I, Paris Michael and Prince Michael II, known for his brief public appearance when his father held him over the railing of a hotel balcony, causing widespread criticism.
(Additional Reporting by Jill Serjeant; Writing by Frances Kerry, Editing by Jackie Frank)