I / Kingston August 06, 2012, 8:49 IST
As Bolt re-established his claim to the title of world's fastest man at the London Olympic Games last nihgt, thousands of his countrymen cheered him on in an athletics building on the grounds of the national stadium, other public viewing areas and thousands of living rooms as off-and-on gusty winds from the storm swept across the Caribbean country.
A crowd of roughly 500 people on the grounds of the national stadium cheered wildly as Bolt crossed the finish line of the 100-meter dash in 9.63 seconds, many dancing and chanting "Jamaica, Jamaica!" One woman dropped to the ground, crying with relieved joy. A group of drummers pounded out a pulsing beat.
Nine-year-old Lois Miller was among a group of dancing, flag-waving children.
"Jamaica No. 1! I knew it! I knew it," she said breathlessly.
The intermittent rain and wind forced the country to abandon plans for an outdoor viewing area at the Kingston stadium, but spectators managed to watch Bolt's win in the semi-finals less than a minute before a fierce squall swept in and crews had to disassemble the stage and video monitors.
"Bolt runs, the whole world shakes," said Patricia Ebanks, a vendor in a jerk chicken stall set up outside the stadium.
At the Halfway Tree square in Kingston, several hundred people gathered at another outdoor viewing area that attracted hundreds Jamaicans, who stood in a slight drizzle to wave flags and bang kitchen pot lids and blow zuzuvelas. Many mimicked Bolt's famous two-fingered victory pose.
"Shot down the American dem, shot dem down big time. Lef' dem fi dead," said triumphant fan Roy Collins, speaking in Jamaican patois.