Having made the sprint double his own fiefdom for nearly a decade, the nine-time Olympic champion, 11-time Would Champion and double world record holder, clearly the greatest sprinter of all time, has gone on to take global spotlight in other areas of endeavour, which have combined to make him undisputedly the Loop Jamaica Person of the Year for 2016.
Indeed, only Prime Minster Andrew Holness, with two national election victories within the year, and seemingly steady hands at the wheels of state, came in the frame at a distant second as a national figure this year.
From Olympic mega-glory to movie making, global commercial and sporting endorsements behind each other, and a whiff of the ladies’ man in the making – which, by Jamaican standards, counts as a major plus – Usain St Leo Bolt from deep rural Sherwood Content in Trelawny has simply captivated the world.
Consider this: even the world’s most celebrated football club – Manchester United in England – is waiting with bated breath for the once bare-footed high school track star to grace their training ground, whether or not he wants to play football professionally, or simply wants to build a vibe with his favourite club.
Then there has been the success of having begun the journey of expanding the Bolt brand through the establishment of a franchised outlet of the Usain Bolt-themed ‘Tracks and Records’, the celebrity food eatery and lounge that was established in 2011.
Born on August 21, 1986, Bolt attended Waldensia Primary School, where he first began to show his sprinting potential while running in the annual national primary schools’ championships. After a checkered early career in sprinting, he rose to conquer the world up to his triumph at the Olympics in Rio in August of this year.
Only months later, Bolt spent Christmas 2016 with his community of origin – Sherwood Content – including joining them for a screening of his new documentary movie ‘I am Bolt’, which was gloriously released in tribute to his awesome accomplishments, in London a month earlier.
From early sponsorship endorsements with Puma and Digicel back at the Beijing Olympics in 2008, Bolt has gone on to claim deals with Gatorade, Hublot, Virgin Media and Visa, before securing 2016 deals with Japan’s All-Night Airways, Australian telecom company Optus and Enertor to be the face of the upstart sports insole brand, for which he received an equity stake in the business.
Then it was on to launching his new shaving company, Champion Shave, a week ahead of the Rio Olympic opening ceremony, and the list continues.
Amidst it all, pivotally, he secured a lifetime engagement as Digicel’s Chief Speed Officer.
The combined endorsements have made Bolt by far the highest earning track and field athlete globally, and placed him at number 32 among the world highest paid athletes overall, ahead of the Rio Games.
In Jamaica, the iconic athlete has seen his indomitable spirit being packaged and presented through the elegant and dazzling Tracks and Records lounge that was started in Kingston by a group of young entrepreneurs back in 2011. In August of this year, the venture went further with a soft opening of a franchise operation in Ocho Rios, St Ann, to showcase the great one on track at the Rio Games. Less than a month later, it was publicly opened on the projected pathway to global stardom that the Usain Bolt brand represents.
Of course, it’s never all perfect, with Bolt having been cited for celebrating his 30th birthday after the Rio Games in the raunchy company of a number of willing Brazilian women, this despite being known to have a committed relationship at home.
That, however, has basically been forgotten, as the nation’s most celebrated son continues to positively inspire his countrymen and women both on and off the track.
Hearty congratulation to Usain Bolt for yet another accolade as Loop Jamaica’s Persona of the Year 2016.