Bolt Mania Strikes Penn Relays

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CaribWorldNews, PHILADEPHIA, PA, Mon. April 26, 2010: The loud screams, horn toots and whistles that spewed from many of the 54,000 largely Jamaican fans packed in to Franklin Field Saturday for the 116th running of the annual Penn Relays marked the entry not of the U.S. President but of the world`s fastest fan into the stadium.

At around 1:30 p.m. when Jamaica`s Ambassador, Usain `Lightning` Bolt, made his entry with teammates for a warm up jog around the infield, the crowd was electrified. There was no denying that the biggest crowd in the Relays history had come to see one man whose black, green and gold colors has electrified the world by set his first 100-m world record with a time of 9.72  in both 100 m and 200 m events at the 2008 Beijing Summer Olympics and by breaking his own records at the 2009 World Championships.

Close to the 2:50 p.m. hour, as Bolt along with Mario Forsythe, Yohan Blake and Marvin Anderson again entered the stadium for their race, the crowd again shouted out with bolts of glee. So much so that announcers had to appeal for silence so that the preceding college race could be run at its scheduled time.

Then it was time for the highly anticipated event at the Relays – the U.S. versus the world`s men`s 100-m. The screams of the fans from start to finish rose many decibels higher – much more than the usual friendly banter that is an annual tradition between U.S. and Jamaican fans who each compete to shout each other down.

On Saturday, as Bolt took the baton from Anderson and took off down the track, it seemed to many that his record-breaking 8.79 seconds win ended way too quickly for the thousands who had secured their tickets to see him.

`It`s over already,` asked some stunned Jamaica fans as the announcers quickly announced that the Jamaican Gold team had not only clinched the victory over their U.S. counterpart but made history at Penn in a time of 37.90 seconds.

But for the humble Bolt, it simply was `no pressure.`

`It was all fun,` he said at a brief press conference with his team mates after the win, while adding that he is still getting used to the attention he has received globally following his record-breaking wins.

Penn Relays Director Dave Johnson called the pre-Bolt crowd `as loud as I have ever heard it here.`
Bolt showed his appreciation before he left Franklin Field, signing autographs for fans prior to climbing into his ride.

The Relays drew 117,346 fans over three days, breaking the old record of 114,194 set in 2006.

`It is amazing to hear those [figures],` added Johnson. `We do all we can every year to have the best event. And with Bolt bringing in such a large crowd it was a really special event.`

 

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