Latin America & Caribbean

Jamaicans revel in Bolt victory at London 2012 Olympics

Jamaicans celebrate at the Half Way Tree in Kingston - 5 August
Image caption The race had its own loud soundtrack in Kingston

Jamaicans were preparing for a storm this weekend. Tropical Storm Ernesto had been threatening to ruin Jamaica's 50th anniversary celebrations on 6 August but that didn't dampen people's spirits as they were expecting a "Lightning Bolt" at the Olympics.

Usain Bolt's Track and Records sports bar in the heart of Kingston was standing room only, full to capacity well before the race began as fans came to see the world's fastest man defend his title.

"Usain Bolt to the world, Jamaica to the world," said one woman, her pedicure and manicure in the black, gold and green of the flag.

"It's gonna be Bolt," said another, a view shared by many. Even if it wasn't him, nearly everyone believed it would be a Jamaican who'd be getting gold.

With giant screens relaying the action from London, the crowd went into frenzy as Jamaica's Yohan Blake and Asafa Powell came into view. The noise levels went off the scale as Usain Bolt appeared, with his trademark gestures to the camera, seemingly sending a message back home.

As they left the blocks, the place erupted into cheers and screams as people jumped up and down. Horns were blown as Usain edged in front of the competition. With Yohan Blake behind him it was a Jamaican gold and silver.

Asafa Powell pulled up injured during the race, denying Jamaica the sweep of medals. Then the typical Jamaican post-race analysis began.

"It's a shame for Asafa but he represented for Jamaica," said one patron.

Another man said: "It was great he [Bolt] represented, he's the most dominant sprinter of all time, the question mark was there but he laid it to rest".

"I was so nervous watching them run, but he won and it was like heaven," said another.

"The second fastest Olympic time, set by the world's fastest man, we love it," he said.

Badge of pride

On the other side of Kingston in Half Way Tree, the streets of the busy intersection came to a halt as hundreds of people took over the streets to watch the race.

It's a tradition for people to come and watch the island's sporting heroes on the big screens by the side of the road.

Buses, lorries and cars were forced to wait for what is for many Jamaicans the most important 10 seconds.

With cooking pot covers banged together like cymbals through to tambourines, the race had its own loud soundtrack.

And following on from Jamaica getting gold and bronze in the women's 100 metres, when their superstar athletes went over the, line the crowd went wild.

"I've come all the way from the US to be here," said one woman. "[It's] worth every penny."

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Media captionDJ Don Letts on the music of Jamaica's independence

Jamaica's dominance in the dash is a badge of national pride and what a way to start the celebrations as the country turns 50.

As people started to drift away from the screens, a woman called Marina simply said this was a "perfect present for Jamaica" and wished the island a happy birthday.

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