For the past three years Team Jamaica Bickle in partnership with Awesome Power Track Club,have taken Diaspora based high school athletes to Jamaica to participate in local track andfield meets. In 2009 and 2010 a team of approximately 20 athletes, parents, TJB coaches andofficials made the trip to compete at the annual Gibson Relays. In 2011 a group of approximately15 traveled to the University of the West Indies (UWI) Invitational. Many of our athletes are ofJamaican or Caribbean heritage, but some have no connection to the Island.
‘Team Bickle’ debuted at Gibson Relays in 2009 and finished second in the 4×800, in a close race.
In 2010 at the Gibson Relays, our Team Bickle all-star squad won two relays at the prestigiousGibson Relays smashing one meet record. The team broke the meet record while winning the4x800 in 8:41.92, besting a mark set by Jamaica’s Holmwood Tech in 2002 of 8.48.96.
Competing in track meets on the island represents part of our larger mission, as we continueto seek ways to contribute to the development of athletic programs existing here andabroad. The program (as it grows) identifies with the new thrust in sports economics. As theU.S. contingent grows, direct benefits to the Jamaican tourism product will be felt.
As hosts to the large contingent of Jamaican Athletes at the Annual Penn Relays Carnivalin Philadelphia, we are witness to the tremendous impact of their presence, on these games. Ourathletes generate excitement and tremendous passion. Fans descend on Franklin Field annuallyto see them top class performance and unrivalled competition. The curiosity, the interest, thefascination, the mystique of the Jamaican athlete is the stuff audience excitement is built on.
Our effort to demystify the “Jamaica Phenomenon” is firmly rooted in the “Return to Roots Project”.
Why do Jamaicans run so fast?
The phenomenal performance of Usain Bolt at the Beijing Olympics has prompted manyworldwide to ask that question. In fact, there is currently a documentary out with the samename. The list of extraordinary athletes and legendary is long; their achievements legendary:Herb McKenley, Dennis Miller, Donald Quarrie, Asafa Powell, Merlene Ottey, Grace Jackson,Juliet Cuthbert, to name a few.
Numerous theories have been put forward as the reason behind the speed; from the diet ofyam (synonymous with Bolt’s parish) to the rigorous lifestyle of the Jamaica people, farming,walking, etc.
The Return to Roots Project is a great tool for our communities to connect.
The “Return to Roots” is synergistic with our objective: to connect our athletes (here) with theorigins of this “powerful source of top-tier talent—Jamaica.” They get to see what competitionamongst their peers is like, the energy, the competitive spirit, the passion. An added bonus is acultural immersion, has positive ‘out-growth’ over time.
The program gives us a platform from which to expand; from which to pay homage to the landthat produces world class talent and in extraordinary numbers.
We believe over time through our efforts we will help to
• Promote ‘Brand Jamaica’
• Promote the Jamaica athletic experience
• Establish lines of communication between Diaspora athletes and their
• Contribute to the tourism sector
• Contribute to Jamaica’s economy
• Connect athletes with their heritage
• Create ambassadors for ‘Brand Jamaica’
The ‘Team Bickle’ Concept has been successful. It holds tremendous potential and promisesmany benefits for Jamaica.