Usain Bolt has triumphed in the Olympic Games, winning gold in the 100m and 200m sprints (in impressive times of 9.63 seconds and 19.32 seconds, respectively).
Calling himself a “living legend”, Bolt is the first man to retain both Olympic sprint titles and it was a clean sweep for Jamaica with Yohan Blake, Bolt’s training partner, taking silver and Warren Weir taking the bronze in the 200.
In a memorable year for the athletes there’s another landmark occasion to celebrate in 2012 – 50 years of Jamaican independence from the United Kingdom.
In addition to the endless sun, soft, sandy beaches and crystal-clear waters, Jamaica is also famed for its friendly locals, convivial atmosphere and status as the reggae capital of the world, responsible for music legends such as Bob Marley.
The island is celebrating breaking free from its colonial ties throughout 2012, with a series of special events in addition to the regular programme of events that the country stages each year.
Vicki Cannizo, managing director for the Jamaica Association of Villas and Apartments, said: “Some of the best events are yet to come, like the Reggae Marathon, which draws music fans from around the world – and many Jamaicans living abroad want to come home to celebrate Jamaica 50 with family this autumn and for Christmas.
“A lot of Jamaican expatriates have children who have never been to Jamaica, so this year is a great opportunity for them, or anyone, to come and enjoy the best of Jamaica.”
Key events in Jamaica this year include the following:
August 11: In Kingston the Grand Jamaica Homecoming Olympic Party will coincide with the men’s and women’s Relay finals at the London 2012 Olympic Games. In Montego Bay, The International Reggae Wine Festival offers a line up of leading reggae artists, a fashion show, Jamaican arts and crafts as well as playing host to the finest purveyors of wine.
September 27-29: The Legends of Cricket T20 Carnival Master’s Tournament offers visitors a chance to view some of the planet’s most revered cricketing legends, as well as featuring music, a beach party and a golf tournament.
October 3-7: The Montego Bay Yacht Club Fishing Tournament is the oldest competitive fishing event in Jamaica. All levels of play are on offer, including a children’s competition, and visitors can also enjoy the range of entertainment and food on offer at the event.
November 13-20: Sample the best of Jamaica’s cuisine at events being held in Kingston, Montego Bay and Ocho Rios for Restaurant Week.
November 29-December 2: The Reggae Marathon offers the chance for visitors to run in the Jamaican paradise of Negril. The event is also open to non-runners who will enjoy the range of reggae music on offer.
(Featured image: alex_photo)