Triple gold winner, triple world record holder and the iconic face of Beijing 2008, Usain Bolt visited The Westin Beijing Financial Street where he met child victims of the Chinese earthquake to make a donation to the Chinese Red Cross Foundation.
(Photo: Smiles all round - Usain Bolt, Miss World, Zi Lin Zhang of China, and one of the earthquake victims)The 22-year-old Olympic hero has, in just over a week, become an inspirational role model for millions of children not just in his native Jamaica but throughout the world and today we saw how important that position was to him as he played and joked with the children on the stage.
He came with his entire family whom he showed off proudly to say: “I am overwhelmed by the positive support and love shown to me by the Chinese people and wanted to say thank you by making a personal donation of US$50,000 to the Red Cross Society of China.”
(Above: Usain with Edmund Bartlett, Jamaica’s Minister for Tourism)
He added: “This donation is a gift from me to the children who have been victims of the earthquake in China’s Sichuan Province. Some of these children have been seriously injured and will never be able to experience the joy of running or even dancing. It is a difficult time for them and I just hope I can help bring a smile to their face.”
Subsequently he invited the children to the World Beach Sprint to be held in Negrill, Jamaica next year. Tourism Minister Edmund Bartlett fully supports Bolt’s humanitarian gestures and offered to support the children on the visit to the historic World Beach Sprint event.
Through overwhelming talent coupled with endearing showmanship, Usain Bolt has brought a much-needed breath of fresh air to the athletics track. In under two weeks, he’s changed the face of sprinting, and his elation crossing the winning line has been a major part of his charm, opening the world of athletics to an audience of young people formerly disinterested by it. At the same time, he’s inspired a generation of children universally about what can be achieved by combining natural talent with passion and single-minded application. And where’s the crime in enjoying what you do for a living?
He has also redefined Jamaica as a destination of high performance and qualified people capable of leading the world in whatever they set their minds to.
“The triple World Record is an unprecedented act and sets a new world standard which cannot be fazed by negative invection’ from anyone,” says Minister Bartlett.
As journalist Dan Wetzel of Yahoo! Sports poignantly commented: “Bolt is everything the Olympics are supposed to be about. He isn’t the product of some rich country, some elaborate training program that churns out gold medals by any means necessary. He’s a breath of fresh air, a guy who came out of nowhere to enrapture the world with his athletic performance and colorful personality. This is no dead-eye product of some massive machine. He was himself, and the world loved him for it.”
Jamaica’s sweep of honours at the Games has been nothing short of astonishing, headed by Bolt’s staggering achievements and the first-ever clean sweep in the women’s 100 metres. The relay, with Nesta Carter, Michael Frater, Bolt and Asafa Powell, is the icing on the cake for this little island with possibly one of the warmest people you could ever have the pleasure of spending time with.
“I for one couldn’t be happier or prouder of them,” added Minister Bartlett.