Sprint legend shows Kerry team the golden touch
Published 12/01/2010 | 05:00
IT was a sporting match made in heaven: the fastest man in the world meets the All-Ireland champions. Olympic 100m champion Usain Bolt (23) was all smiles as he met Kerry's All-Ireland winning football side during their winter break in the Caribbean.
The sprint king took time out from his training in Jamaica to greet the Kerry party. Kerry chose the Caribbean for their winter break after their All-Ireland triumph over Cork in September -- a victory that earned the Kingdom their 36th title.
Bolt signed autographs, posed for photos with the Kingdom players and their partners and even agreed to try his hand at Gaelic football. The Jamaican sprinter -- a keen soccer and cricket fan -- showed that natural athletic ability knows no code restrictions, with an impromptu display of high fielding that wouldn't have been out of place in Fitzgerald Stadium or Croke Park.
Kerry stars Tommy Griffin and Kieran Donaghy were impressed by Bolt's skill and were delighted meeting such a sporting icon.
The Kerry duo hailed Bolt as one of "the true legends of world sport".
Kerry skipper Darran O'Sullivan said meeting Bolt was one of the highlights of their tour.
The Kingdom panel presented Bolt with a signed Kerry jersey and vowed to roll out the red carpet if he ever visits Ireland.
"This has been a fantastic end to our trip to Jamaica.
"Usain Bolt is a superstar athlete and having the opportunity to spend the day with him and getting to know him has been incredible," Mr O'Sullivan told the Irish Independent. "We even managed to get him into a Kerry jersey and teach him a few of the basics of Gaelic football."
Another sporting icon and proud Kerryman on the trip was former Ireland and Munster rugby star Mick Galwey.
"It was a great opportunity for them to meet a world-class athlete before training begins for next season," he said.
The Jamaican athlete -- nicknamed "Lightning Bolt" -- holds three Olympic gold medals and is the fastest man on earth with a 100m time of 9.58 seconds. He also holds the 200m world record.
Bolt was the first man to set world records at three different Olympic track events at the 2008 Beijing Games.