In a video message during the ceremony, IAAF President Sebastian Coe acknowledged the impact Bolt has had on athletics. “Usain has changed the face of our sport,” said Coe. “His has been an extraordinary career which has exemplified competitive excellence, extraordinary character, good sportsmanship and professionalism. “His career has exemplified competitive excellence, extraordinary character, outstanding sportsmanship and professionalism, all of which has made him a global superstar. “Usain may have left the track but I know he will never leave the sport and we look forward to working closely with him on the next part of his journey in the greatest sport on the planet,” added Coe. “On behalf of the world of athletics, thank you to a giant of world sport who has made an immense contribution to athletics worldwide.” While lauding the achievements of the sprinter, Prime Minister Holness says it’s important that the National Stadium is upgraded to world class status to hosts world class events and nurture more Usain Bolts for the future.
— Usain St. Leo Bolt (@usainbolt) December 4, 2017
“The commissioning of the statues is part of the process of memorialising and celebrating the historical, social, symbolic and aesthetic value of Jamaica’s athletic achievement. Importantly, as well, this is about adding economic value to Jamaica’s sport tourism offering,” said Grange, who is also the minister in charge of culture, gender and entertainment. All four statues will be delivered over two years, the first being the statue of Bolt, which will be ready in August. “We chose that time for installation to coincide with Usain’s retirement and our nation’s 55th anniversary of Independence,” the Minister explained. Miss Grange said the exact time of the unveiling would be determined by Bolt’s schedule and the availability of other athletes to attend the ceremony at Statue Road at the National Stadium. Grange pointed out that along the way in the production process, the athletes had been consulted by the sculptor about the design of their statues. She said that at each stage, the sculptor had provided a maquette to show a visual representation of the sculpture. Minister Grange said there would be some adjustments by the sculptor before arriving at the final product but she gave the assurance that, “It would look like Usain Bolt in the end.” The comments of the Minister will certainly add to the ongoing debate surrounding the quality, or lack thereof, of a sculpted bust representing National Hero Marcus Garvey recently unveiled by the University of the West Indies. Based on past experience the Minister said presenting a maquette for scrutiny is compulsory as part of any work she has commissioned. “We know that our athletes — particularly Usain Bolt — will be spoken of and studied by athletes, fans and lovers of sport for generations to come. As with Bob Marley, we anticipate that the people of the world will come to Jamaica to see sights associated with Bolt and our other sports stars and to learn about their history,” Grange said.
Just looking at the list of confirmed athletes from other countries for this meet is convincing enough for me. The world’s top-six javelin throwers have already confirmed their participation which is quite telling!” The inaugural Racer’s Grand Prix is set for June 11 at the National Stadium. Minister Grange congratulated Dr. the Hon Glen Mills, OJ, who is the chairman of the organising committee, for having the vision to conceptualise the event. She applauded his commitment to aiding the development of athletics in Jamaica and noted that it is through the hard work of the coaches that Jamaica now has a large cadre of world class athletes. In his remarks, Ambassador, Dr. the Hon Usain Bolt, said the track meet would be one of the best in the world. He promised that there would be a swell of international athletes descending on Jamaica and that he intended to put in a special performance. Among the athletes attending the launch were sprinters Michael Frater, Zharnel Hughes, Yohan Blake, Warren Weir and hurdler, Hansle Parchment. Minister Grange said a major part of her focus, as she leads the sports ministry, would be to seek to marry sports, entertainment and tourism and create the best opportunities for the country’s talent.
This partnership will also see Puma working with Powell to design a ‘Sub-10 King’ line of sportswear and spikes. Speaking about the new partnership with Puma, Powell said, “Puma has played a huge role in Jamaican track and field throughout my career - supporting the high school programme that fosters young athletes, partnering with the JAAA (Jamaica Administrative Athletics Association) and JOA (Jamaica Olympic Association) and elite athletes such as Usain. “It’s a brand I’ve been very familiar with throughout my career and their longstanding commitment to Jamaican athletics is key as we continue to build and work to maintain our recent successes. They understand Jamaican culture, history, people and also the sport that this country loves, and I am very happy to be working with them.”