THE PARTY IS OVER AND RIO IS THE WINNER BUT THE FAVELAS THE LOSER

The stadium is now cleared of spectators. Volunteers and stadium staff are earnestly preparing to strike the big set. Some are tired, others are sitting restlessly trying to catch a breath after the amazing show.
Rehearsals have been done over and over again, starting over a year ago. The glitches, the demotivated that did not attend rehearsals and the numerous calls to do it “once again” all are now indelible memories of the journey getting to where the team wanted to be. It was, in fact, the best part of the Olympics, the preparation. 
It would not have been a true Brazil Olympics without the brand Brazil is known for, Carnival. The opening ceremonies did its due homage to the birth of this great country, but the closing was authentic Brazil and the performances were all testament to this gospel. 

The show could be easily placed next to the other best in show, China, as the most memorable. The one thing Brazil wanted the world to take aŵay is this – problems there are but the land is green, the sun continues to shine and the people know how to throw a party. Brazil pulled off sports largest party, the 31st Olympiad. 

Months, weeks even days before the opening the media spun its web of doubt. Infested water, a mosquito named Zika and of course the unloved cousin named crime, were reported to threaten the lives of those planning to attend. Few athletes took the bait and refused to attend. Countries brought additional luggage purely packed with repellents and water, enough to give every team member and every family in the favela, packets to last a month. 

Brazil was in fact dusted by the world media as the country plagued by pestilence and if you go, you do so on your own peril. Brazil was humiliated even before the first plane landed with their guests. The political strife did not help either as their President was facing a political earthquake she is hoping to survive. 

The process to creating this ubiquitous event of glitz and glamour was bumpy. In cases where the State needed land it was the residents of the favela that paid the price. A country daunted by millions of its people living below an already low poverty line, basic services seemed to be curtailed in favor of satisfying the wealthy sponsors and the many affluent citizens of Rio. Choices made were not equitable and people of the favela excercised the only power they have, the power to protest. 

It sent a message loud and clear as delays and sabotage prevented time schedules of spaces for the Olympics to be completed on time. Brazil pressed on, facing their realities and a deadline as the World was coming. A visibly shaking President of the Organizing Committee Carlos Nuzman was a happy man. In his closing speech, he declared the games would be one the people of Brazil can look back and be proud of for generations to come.
In a way, I think he is correct. The games did not lack any excitement or drama. There were many highs and as expected many lows. There were 27 World records and 90 Olympic records at the Rio 2016 games. 
The outstanding athletes Phelps of the US, Farah of the UK and Bolt of Jamaica were the stars of the games. There were other memorable moments as well too numerous to mention but for Brazil the sweet moment was the revenge victory over rival Germany for the gold medal in the beloved sport Soccer. Karma was so sweet an ale on the lips of the Brazilians. 

The lows were as low as they could go and the three that will be etched in the history of Rio2016 Games were the public refusal of the Israeli athlete to shake the hand of his Palestinian competitor and the blond athlete from the US that claimed he and fellow athletes were robbed at gun point when upon investigating the incident , was determined to be false, very false.


The other low point was the visible empty seats in the massive 70,000 seat Olympic stadium except for when Bolt was attending and the 80,000 Maracana stadium where the opening and closing ceremonies were held. No director wants to see empty seats. It says a lot about the planning of the event. If I were the director, I would have filled those seats with the people next door the Maracana. The favelas had thousands of people standing above their shanty roof top houses, that would have given an arm even a leg to be in the stadium. I think the organizers and the government lost an opportunity there. 

Every event has its drama and the event ghosts are always around determined to distract and displace every possible decision taken. Brazil faced their truth and stood back up on their feet 1 million times as much as they were knocked down 1 million times. For this Brazil can be proud. Nothing is more satisfying than to do something that your haters say you cannot.

I think Brazil had the last laugh. They can laugh at the doubters and be assured that the City of Rio has been tested and passed every test imaginable. The final test for Rio and Brazil is the test of conversion and innovation of the many facilities to serve its people. 
This will be its hardest challenge. I hope they face it with the same resolve as they did to open the games. Fairy tales they are but the land is green, the sun shines and the people not only can throw a party, they now have facilities that will move their people and country from being a great Brazil to an even greater Brazil. 
(C) 2016. Kwesi. All Rights Reserved. 

REALITY IS NOTHING- PERCEPTION IS EVERYTHING

BOLT

REALITY IS NOTHING- PERCEPTION IS EVERYTHING

 If the writer’s intention was to focus on Jamaica’s ‘drug problem’  he has certainly done so but i fear there are a lot of hyped comments and scenarios written in his report. Jamaica’s so called ‘drug problem’ cannot be taken into isolation – it is a much bigger problem than we believe and  NO government is going to 1. put enough resources into the organizations  2. find ‘staff not tainted ‘ to work in the organizations or 3.  deny the fact that they love and crave the  publicity and accolades afforded the country from exploits in Track N filed- so the best thing is to deny the problem exist- everybody does that…EVERYBODY.

Track n field is global of which we are a  major player. It is the human thing to want to create suspicion and rumor because we happen to have the best male and female sprint champions. This article is trying to do just that. 

JADCO, WADA and all the others have a problem. I  still maintain that the recent discoveries and outing of athletes tainted with drugs by the various national drug associations are nothing but an attempt to show the world that look we are working hard at cleaning up the sport and your tax money is not wasted. They would be better served to clean up their associations from the INSIDE ,starting from WADA,  which apparently seems almost impossible to do. The evil that men do are done with such good intentions.  

BOLT- LIVING HIS DREAM

2009-09-03 14.02.27

Bolt- Living his Dream is a 5 minute photo-movie depicting his rise to fame in the pursuit of his goal. It gives the viewer an insight on Bolt’s personal struggles from the 2011 World Championships when the unthinkable false start occurred., and his subsequent rise to legendary status .

Set to the beautiful music of Ken Ward “When you Believe” sung by Leslie Page , the images used are from the thousands of various photographers that have chronicled Bolt’s rise to dominance in athletics.

The movie serves to inspire the thousands of athletes and anyone that have similar struggles . Hopefully it will help them to understand there is no shortcut to success. The message is -No dream remains a dream until you the dreamer believes it is possible and then go make it work. It will be lonely, dark and sometimes treacherous but never give up, never look back. Believe.

Good things come to those who believe, better come to those that posses patience and the best to those who never gave up Enjoy the journey.

DRUGS IN SPORTS- Take my Skin, not my Blood

DRUGS IN SPORTS- Take my Skin, not my Blood

Journalist Michael Grant has written an interesting piece on the global reaction and effect the latest doping news has on Jamaica’s reputation and the sports. I wrote my comments to his piece. I open the discussion to hear your point of view as well.

My Response…..

Good angle the writer has chosen . Fair enough we must await the results of the investigation before rushing to  judgement which is a constant human flaw. Seems to me that athletes are by nature prisoners in their sports as the list of items they CANNOT ingest gets bigger every day.

Question is what role is  WADA playing to educate and help the athletes as this writer fairly ask? Playing the gotcha game seems to me more of a gestapo organization than one that works with the athletes. So what is the WADA  charter? Is it to KILL or PROTECT? They will tell you they protect and play its role in educating the athlete. Have you seen the banned list of substances? If these athletes fall sick, they had  better pray or fast.

My belief is this – sure WADA is there to ‘protect’ the image of the sport especially since the East Germans and the US have shown it necessary to do so. But make no mistake its not clean as a whistle as one would hope it to be. Why? Because it is set up by the very people whose long term goal is to garner fame for their country while killing any one that challenges the status quo. Jamaica has dared to challenge the status quo so it is not surprising the reaction from WADA and other doubting Thomas’s.

The line that defines what is legal and what isn’t is as vast as the differences of people that make up WADA. The athletes will be best served if one of their own is directing that agency because when there is an infraction at least WADA won’t take their blood and skin, only their skin.

What are your thoughts on WADA and drugs in sports?

Is Bolt a Legend?

The London 2012  games are officially over. Its been 17 days and the world has been drawn to athletics. 17 days when those who are highly favored got the  chance to actually see the games in person and for those who were not so fortunate sat glued to their television sets , myself included . For 17 days we did not move except to take a shower and do the obligatory thing of eating something before we sit and  die before the TV.

The Olympics brings one thing to the viewer- a spectacle of human strength. We sit in awe and watch fellow humans stretch the limits of human boundaries to accomplish feats the the average Joe Blow can only dream of doing. The furthest he will go is pressing the button on the remote. Thats his version of human accomplishment. We sit in awe and we cheer our hearts out when the athletes go higher, faster and stronger than their competitors. We are in love with the TV and with our human self.

Growing up we always heard our parents speak of great stories of human accomplishment. A a Jamaican I never knew who Jessie Owens was but my parents told me what he did in the face of adversity. The story they told me fascinated me at a young age and they spoke of this man having paved the way for black athletes to compete. I was also told of Herb McKinley and Arthur Wint the 2 Jamaican athletes who themselves went to London and did the impossible. From a small island they won the 100 yards and 440 yards at the time. Those were fascinating stories for a young man at the time. Growing up Donald Quarrie, another sporting personality set his mark by wining the 200m in the Olympics the only athlete from Jamaica them to do so. These men from an early age inspired me to take up track and developed a love for it to this day . the stories were inspiring, uplifting and proved that it was possible to accomplish the impossible. They were our local legends that every young man wanted to be like.

We grow up in many places, in our homes , our churches, our extended families and in our schools and in every sector of the society we come across some legendary feats that remain with you forever. In my college years the stories were too vast and too many legends were born out of my College years. My headmaster affectionately called Jango, his vice principal who we were all in awe with his flawless circle drawn by hand in our maths class. Mr Dibbs is a legend. Not to mention the beating our school managed to give other schools in teack and filed and football. Those days were legendary. They actually happened and we can tell our children  of those feats.

Jump to 2012 and there are questions and debates on  Usain Bolt. Is he a legend? That question is like asking if the sun shines in jamaica? People like to complicate simple things. We tend to forget everything that ever happened in the past . To document Usain Bolt’s life is like rewriting history. That is already documented and can be read by anyone who chooses to do so. But the question of him being a legend simple stops me in my track.

Bolt appeared on the scene from he was 17 years old and very few people took notice. Not until 2008 when the world saw this tall athlete smashed the world records in all sprint disciplines and took notice. 4 years later amidst lots of adversity he came back to the world’s largest stage and repeated the feat he set 4 years earlier. He ended with a world record.

Bolt was the first man to do 9.5 in 100m sprinting, a feat most people thought impossible. He went further and set a new 200m mark stunning everyone who witnessed it. He then anchored his team in the 4x100m relay to a world record. 80,000 people stood in awe to watch this man run. The entire world stopped and watch him race. He is the only man in jamaica that stopped production for 10 seconds. He single handedly took on the powerful USA and turned their track programme to dust. He was so fast that no one on the planet could beat him when he puts his mind to it. And he proved it twice. Yes son Bolt did these things in 2008 and 2012 and he had the world as his oyster and the world had him as their fantasy. Thankfully he is alive. Go on line and see his races.

That was me talking to my son telling him of the legendary tales of Usain Bolt.  He inspired me then and he inspired my son now. His stories actually happened. so the question being asked is quite simply dumb founded and one cannot help but think that he is a victim of his own fame. A man does not have to die to be a legend. There are many persons writing their legacy now and who are already legends. Barack Obama, Portia Simpson, Nelson Mandela, Tiger Woods to name a few. They are legends thankfully living inspiring others to take their lead.

People are talking now about Bolt both his enemies and his friends. The unfortunate thing is words of thanks from his fellow men  may not be a free giving as it should be. He has given himself to humanity and there are those who still question him. That is the sign of true greatness and human weakness. Bolt name is written in the pages of the history books as the first of all men to do the impossible. His name will go down in history as being the tallest fastest man in his time and from the look of things it could be a while before another legend comes of age. One thing is certain, BOLT IS A LEGEND. We hope we see many more of him to satisfy our lust for greatness. Greatness is starting something that lives after you. Bolt has started a revolution in track and field that will outlast him. Frankly  it does not seem it will be rewritten for a long , long time. Ask yourself this question, will you be talking about him now or anytime soon? If the answer is yes then he is already a legend, you just don’t want to admit it!