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NYC Sports Symposium To Discuss Brand Sports Tourism & Legacy Of Beijing Olympics, May 27, 2010, New York

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For Jamaicans at home and in the Diaspora, the Beijing Olympics in 2008 and the World Championships in Berlin a year later were unforgettable. Most will remember the outstanding performance of Usain ‘Lighting” Bolt who proved he was still the fastest human being on the planet, outclassing the field in the 100 meters (9.58 secs) and 200 meters (19.19 secs) (both world records) at the World Championship in Berlin, Germany. In similar fashion, Olympic champion Shelly Ann Fraser took home gold in the women’s 100 meters while Kerron Stewart, hurdles champion Brigitte Foster-Hylton, Delloreen Ennis-London, 400m champion Melaine Walker, Veronica Campbell-Brown, Aileen Bailey and Simone Facey all made us extremely proud.

Soon after the Olympics, government officials and sports administrators talked about initiatives that would be put in place for the island to benefit financially from the success of our athletes on the international stage. Minister of Tourism, Edmund Bartlett, quickly outlined plans that he said would be pursued to boost the development of sports tourism.

“Sports tourism will become a major part of the deliverable in tourism and an important medium by which we are going to be bringing more heads to beds, more lookers into bookers and more feet to the streets of Jamaica” Minister Bartlett was quoted as saying. He later outlined plans to host the world’s first-ever 100-metre beach sprint in Jamaica.

Minister of Sports, Olivia ‘Babsy’ Grange also outlined plans to establish a sports museum which she said would strengthen Brand Jamaica. To ensure that Jamaica would capitalise and maximize the opportunities at the Olympics, Jamaica sent a political delegation of 50 members to attend the games. Unfortunately while PUMA has made millions of dollars in the two years since Bolt (who endorses their product) first set the 100 meters world record at the Ichan Stadium in New York, Jamaica has yet to fully capitalise on the tremendous opportunities since Beijing and Berlin.

It is against this backdrop that executives at New York based Caribbean Lifestyle Television (CLM TV) decided the time was right to host the inaugural CLM TV Sports Symposium at the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture in Harlem, New York on Thursday May 27, 2010. The theme for the symposium is ‘The Legacy of the Beijing Olympics and the World Championship.’ Other topics to be discussed are brand Jamaica, sports tourism and could Jamaica benefit from a professional athletics body in Jamaica?

It is the first event of this kind in the Diaspora and sports fans here are excited about the opportunity to hear from some of the leading sport’s icons and administrations including panelists Teddy McCook, Executive of the Jamaica Olympic Association; Olympians Raymond Stewart & Grace Jackson; Devon Harris, a member of Jamaica’s original Bobsled Team; Olympic skier Errol Kerr and Bruce James, TV sports analysis and President of MVP Track Club, home of Olympic champions Shelly Ann-Frasier, Bridgette Foster-Hylton and former world record holder Asafa Powell. Segments of the symposium will be taped and edited for re-broadcast to TV viewers in the tri-state area in June 2010.

“LIME has been an integral supporter of sporting activities in Jamaica and the wider Caribbean for decades” said LIME’s Head of Diaspora Colin Benjamin.

“This is consistent with our pledge to give back to the communities within which we operate. We are delighted to be associated with this CLM TV Sports Symposium.”

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Written by Staff Writer