Jamaica's 100m victory at the Olympics is a first?

Marc Wadsworth

At last Jamaica has lifted the Olympic 100 metres crown in its own right. Usain Bolt, pictured, like lightning, streaked to a 9.69secs world record victory in Beijing. I say, by right, because Jamaican-born Donovan Bailey (Canada) and Linford Christie (Britain) have already won the blue ribbon event. As did Canadian Jamaican Ben Johnson, who was later disqualified for taking drugs and forfeited his title in disgrace as a result.

Before 21-year-old Bolt, Bailey, Christie and Johnson, came the Jamaican athletics greats Herb McKenley, George Rhoden, Arthur Wint, Don Quarrie and Bert Cameron - the latter with whom I had my photograph taken when I attended the first Athletics World Championship of 1983 in Helsinki. I did the same with Finnish middle distance hero Lasse Viren.

I had text messages lauding the Bolt track triumph from my Finnish cousin Päivi and British Jamaican DJ friend Danny. Päivi said: "Congratulations! Jamaica's Bolt won the 100m and the new world record was amazing." I agreed with her description because Bolt, arms raised, started celebrating 60m into the race when he knew he had won, so imagine what the world record could have been if he had powered through the finishing line?

Danny used the momentous occasion to attack the negative stereotype of aggressive Jamaican homegrown "Yardies" in "foreign" (abroad) and referred to the island's ackee national dish: "Every ting bad what happen at foreign the yardies get the blame. Well now they can blame the lightening Bolt. Big up all ackee eaters," he said.

I have to say that I experienced a flutter of excitement when Britain's coxless four won rowing gold at Beijing. The win reminded me of the crews at Walton Rowing Club - among whom is an Olympic gold medallist - who run the gauntlet of my mother who swims in the River Thames all year round where they practice. Both my intrepid Finnish ice breaking mother and the rowers have a mutial respect for each other. Well done Usain Bolt and the coxless four.