Cayman track stars pay tribute to Bolt

Usain Bolt showcases his signature pose at the Cayman Invitational.

As sporting icon Usain Bolt exits the global stage as a competitor, he’s being remembered by some of the Cayman Islands’ top track and field athletes for the legacy he leaves behind.

Although he was beaten in his final individual event at the IAAF World Championships in London on Saturday, his competitors watch him bow out with his legendary status still intact.

“I have the upmost respect for the legend and very honoured that I had a few chances to compete, challenge and gain experience from the big man himself,” said Kemar Hyman, who was due to compete in the 100m sprint with Bolt in London but withdrew ahead of the meet due to a hamstring injury.

The Cayman Islands record-holder in the 100m, who ran in the event at two Olympic Games wih Bolt, said the Jamaican superstar will be missed.

Bolt has twice run in the Cayman Islands.

“He has revived the sport and with his absence we will definitely miss him and hope for the sport to continue being clean to motivate the next generation of athletes to perform and grow in track and field as a potential career,” Hyman told CaymanSportsBuzz.com.

“When the day comes for my retirement I hope to sit around the television and pray that we will see another sensational athlete in track and field as Usain Bolt. Farewell to the greatest of all time,” he added.

Another Olympian, hurdler Ronald Forbes, also reflected on Bolt’s contributions to the sport.

“He has competed with great zeal, has shown great respect for his fellow competitors and has taken the great nation of Jamaica and the rest of the Caribbean to the world like no other has before,” Forbes said in an email to CaymanSportsBuzz.com. “His legacy serves as an example for all sports on what It is to be a model athlete.”

Forbes also said: “Usain Bolt has impacted the sport of athletics in a way that we barely understand now but will only be able to really appreciate in years to come.”

He described the Jamaican showman as an exemplary athlete, phenomenal person and honourable ambassador.

The national record holder in the 110m hurdles said he watched the icon’s rise from the early days at the CARIFTA Games until he became a household name at the Beijing Olympics. “I am honoured to have competed against him and to be a part of this unique era of track and field,” he said.

Forbes said Bolt’s presence on the track will surely be missed by competitors and fans, as he now makes the transition into another phase of his life.

Meantime, Donald McLean, the president of the Cayman Islands Olympic Committee (CIOC) recalled meeting Bolt in Jamaica. He described him as inspiring, humble and extremely talented.

“He has been very important to the Olympic movement in an era of performance enhancing drugs…He was tested repeatedly internationally. For a clean athlete for him to perform at the level that he did was good not only for athletics but for the Olympic movement as a whole,” McLean said.

Bolt’s name will go down in the record books, having eight Olympic gold medals to his name, winning the 100m and 200m at three straight Games, as well as teaming up with his countrymen to dominate the relays. He has also won three World Championship golds in the 100m and four in the 200m; and holds records over both distances: 9.58 seconds and 19.19 seconds.

 

 

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