The Olympics are officially over and I’m sure I am not alone in that what-do-I-watch-on-TV-now panic. There was some big breakout stars this time around — none bigger or more talked-about than Michael Phelps and Usain Bolt. This Trini to the bone was proud to see two silver medals go to Trinidad and Tobago athletes. But for sheer unabashed delight in unexpected victory, no athlete could top Jamaica’s Shelly Ann Fraser. I LOVE her!
Watching her win the women’s 100 got me feeling all kinds of emotions — jumping for joy right along with her, then verklempt at her heartfelt victory speech. Jezebel did a little tribute as well, celebrating her “brace face smile” and linking to the actual race itself.
Shelly Ann’s silvery grin made me instantly like her, and her words afterwards made me fall in love — she told the BBC, “A lot of yam, banana and dumplings produce top three!”
That’s when I knew Shelly Ann was a girl after my own heart. From her name alone — I immediately thought of that Nineties bashment Red Rat tune — I bet she heard no end of that in school. That girl, that girl Shelly Ann!
To see a girl from yard bigging up what we in the Caribbean call “Blue food” or ground provision on the BBC really warmed my heart. I could already tell she had to work hard to get where she is today, and watching this interview with her mom proved that.
For those of you who are patois-challenged, her mom is delirious with joy as she exclaims,
“We can come from the ghetto and produce good things out of the ghetto.” She gives up thanks to the people of Jamaica, to her family, to her pastor, and most of all to God.
My island people didn’t let me down — already there are nuff tribute videos to the Jamaican athletes who made waves in this year’s races. This one, using Sizzla’s Rise to the Occasion, is my personal favorite.
Like I said last week, big up Jamaica! You made the whole Caribbean proud. Shelly Ann Fraser and Usain Bolt are living proof that we can come from a small place and do big, big things. I already can’t wait to root for you in the next Olympics!
(Photo courtesy of Jezebel, by Stu Forster/Getty Images)