The Caribbean Tourism Organization (CTO), the region’s tourism development agency, joins the rest of the Caribbean in celebrating our athletes’ success in the 2012 Olympics. We are particularly proud of the achievements of Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce, who became the first woman in 16 years to successfully defend the 100 metres title, and Usain Bolt, who took another giant step on his journey to being a legend, by retaining his 100 metres title in an Olympic record.
Their feat, together with the silver medal won by Yohan Blake, also of Jamaica, is even more satisfying as it comes at a time when Jamaica is celebrating its 50th anniversary of independence. It has also strengthened Jamaica’s position as the world’s top track and field nation – an amazing accomplishment for a young nation of fewer than three million people.
We join the region in celebrating the success of Kirani James, the Grenadian teen whose win in the 400 metres has warmed our hearts. We honour silver medallist, Santos Luguelin of the Dominican Republic and bronze medallist, Gordon Lalonde of Trinidad and Tobago, who, together with Kirani, gave the Caribbean a clean sweep in the 400.
We salute too, Cuba’s Yarisley Silva, who captured silver in the pole vault; Idalys Ortiz (gold ), Yanet Bermoy Acosta (silver) and Asley Gonzalez (silver), all in judo; silver medallist Ivan Cambar Rodriguez in weightlifting; and Mijain Lopez Nunez who won gold in Greco-Roman wrestling; the Dominican Republic’s Felix Sanchez who won gold in the 400 metres hurdles; and Venezuela’s Ruben Limardo Gascon’s gold in fencing.
They all have made their countries and our region proud. The Caribbean has produced some exceptional sports persons over the past several decades, and these ambassadors continue to represent us well.
Over the remaining days of these Olympics, there’s high expectation that the Caribbean athletes will continue to do well, will wow the world, and will win more medals. We will cheer them along, even from a distance.
So Happy 50th Jamaica and congratulations to all our athletes. We celebrate your success, even when you do not medal.