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RIO RUN TO IMMORTALITY

CaribZone Commentary: Aubrey Campbell –Wednesday, August 17th.

Hump Day it is, folks. God is on our side and for that we are thankful. As the Summer Olympic Games hit full stride near the Brazilian jungle, I am taking a careful note of how the fear of mosquitoes, has given way to the run for gold and glory, in capital city Rio.

To see how the colors of Team Jamaica sparkle even in defeat, is a rare form of tear-jerker.  We won’t win them all, that is a given, but so far, we are right where we should be, in the blue, making delightfully tasting sandwiches of the competition.

There is no more Sanya Richards Ross to break our hearts, instead she is providing great ‘color’ for Team NBC. Good for her and them. By the way, isn’t she Jamaican..?

Yet, with all the brilliance of the Black, Gold and Green standard, another chapter of our storied history in the sport is being written and that has to do with the changing of the guard in the women’s sprint department. I speak specifically of Mrs. ShellyAnn Fraser Pryce and Mrs. Veronica Campbell Brown, not necessarily young but most certainly, talented and beautiful. Sad to see them go!

They will exit center stage in Rio, but not from our collective consciousness where they will stay as part and parcel of inspired thought and discourse, for the next generation.

Watching some of the coverage, I cannot help but conclude that this Team USA, is not strong. It’s not the best I’ve seen, but like I keep reminding myself, sports is cyclic. Put another way, today for you, tomorrow for me. Team USA will bounce back. That is not to say that other nations will not step up their game.

Look at how the athletes from Kenya, South Africa and Canada, are changing the game, stepping up to the podium and taking medals that were penciled in elsewhere, by the experts?

Rightly so, Team Jamaica is on ‘Cloud Nine’, thanks to the heroics of Omar McLeod in the Men’s 110mH. I can’t help but imagine a healthy Hansle Parchment in that race. Since the blessing of a bronze by Big Ben in 2012, he has been improving and positioning for this day, only to be denied by ill health.

Omar created the separation and left enough room for Mr. Parchment, just that he did not show up!

You win some, you lose some and some you put on hold until next time, folks! Such is the nature and culture of sports! Jus wait ‘til nex year….!

By now you must have read or heard that some seven athletes with Jamaican nationality, made it past the first round of competition in the men’s 100m. With the three from Jamaica, the others were representing other nations, eager to sell their birthright for a mess of pottage, or something like that!

What this has done is to open the eyes and ears of the government of the track & field athletics and the Olympic Games ( IAAF and the IOC), respectively, to what is a growing and worrysome matter. Athletes now opting to represent and run for other nations for a myriad of reasons, including financial gain.

The jury is still out, obviously, but what do you do if you have the ability to compete at the highest level of your chosen sport, time and age is against you and your country cannot use you, meaning there is no space, no place on their team for you?

Let me thrown you another curve ball. At age 30 years, you are considered old for prime time sports, you have passed your sale by date. You have entered the endangered zone. You are a grandfather with brittle bones and a serious liability!

Considering any or all of the above, do you then take your talent to market, to the highest bidder, irrespective of country and culture?

Folks, quite a bit to chew on, while I send you back out to Tom Hammond, Sanya Richards Ross and Ato Bolden at the Olympic Stadium in Rio, for a continuation of the run to immortality and sainthood! To God be all the glory and praise.

That’s today’s conversation. You have the last word and I hope you are inspired to share as I do.

Jamaica strong and golden. Rio 2016!

–end–

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