Government Addresses Social Media Controversy about Statue of Usain Bolt

Government Addresses Social Media Controversy about Statue of Usain Bolt

The Jamaican government has put to rest a story circulating on social media concerning what is said to be a statue of Olympic champion Usain Bolt that looks nothing like him. The issue was addressed by unveiling a maquette – a miniature version – of the real statue. According to Olivia Grange, Minister of Sports, the statue being shown on social media has nothing to do with the statue produced by Basil Watson and is “fake news.”

The government plans to spend about US$500,000 to erect bronze statues of Bolt, Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce, Veronica Campbell Brown and Asafa Powell over the next two years. The statues will stand nearly eight feet high. The statue of Bolt will be finished by August 2017 to coincide with his retirement at the World Championships in London and Jamaica’s 55th anniversary of independence. Bolt’s statue will be placed at the National Stadium and will stand on Olympic rings. His shoes will be off to symbolize a “man of the earth.” It will exemplify his character with his famous “Lighting Bolt” pose. Commissioning the statues is part of a process meant to memorialize and celebrate the value of Jamaica’s athletic achievements, Grange said.

Renowned sculptor Basil Watson, who has made more than 30 public sculptures in Jamaica, the United States, Guatemala and China, refused to make any comments on the fake image circulating on social media. Watson said he knows what he did and he knows he “met my benchmark.” Watson has created statues of George Headley at Sabina Park; Merlene Ottey and Herb McKenley at the National Stadium; Circle of Knowledge at the Northern Caribbean University; Fountain Head at the University of Technology (UTech); Heaven and Earth at the University of the West Indies (UWI); Earth to Heaven in China, Cradle in Atlanta, Doctor’s Cave Beach’s Balance and Mohammed Ali in Arkansas. He has had only positive comments on his work to date.

Photo Source: JIS

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Stephanie Korney