By Carmen Glover
Jamaica is known internationally for its verdant beauty, miles of white sand, pulsating reggae music, educational excellence and indomitable prowess in track and field. On Saturday, November 16, both Usain Bolt, 27, and Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce, 26, created history and elevated the tiny Caribbean nation to a realm previously experienced by two other nations, the United States and Great Britain, when they were named 2013 Athletes of the Year.
The dual honor was bestowed on the Jamaican track stars in Monaco at the 2013 World Athletics Gala. U.S. athletes Carl Lewis and Florence Griffith-Joyner won similar recognition in 1988 while Colin Jackson and Sally Gunnell won in 1993 for Great Britain. According to the Jamaica Observer, Bolt’s honor is his fifth since he won World Athlete of the Year in 2008, 2009, 2011 and 2012, while Fraser-Pryce’s recognition represents the second Jamaican woman to be so honored, after track star Merlene Ottey received the award in 1990.
Jamaica’s dominance in track and field has typically caused fierce competition from its U.S. counterpart, and in many cases top-rated track stars who represent the U.S. in athletic events are Jamaicans by birth or boast Jamaican heritage, including Sanya Richards-Ross, for instance.
To say Jamaicans across the globe are bursting with pride about the historic recognition received by Bolt and Fraser-Pryce would be a gross understatement, especially at a time when the country is bitterly disappointed that its soccer team, the Reggae Boyz, failed to qualify for the 2014 World Cup which is scheduled to be held in Brazil. However, the honor received by the track stars is not merely symbolic, but it is monetary as well, with them receiving US $100,000, each in prize money to accompany their award, as indicated by the IAAF website. –OnPointPress.net