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367 Running Success
Pernais talks about Usain Bolt and the national sport of Jamaica.
Doron: Now until last year, I might not have known what the Jamaican flag was, but I saw it a lot every time there was a sprint race at the Olympics. You like sports, right?

Pernais: I love sports.

Doron: Can you tell me about why running is so popular in Jamaica?

Pernais: Running is not considered as much of a sport back home as it is just a fun thing to do. So, like, children like to run as a game really. So you grow up like, just running around, chasing after each other, seeing who's faster than who, who will be able to run further. So it's just something fun back home.

Guy: You can really see that in Usain Bolt, right?

Pernais: Oh right.

Doron: He loves to run.

Pernais: He loves to. He loves to.

Doron: Is he a really big national hero back home?

Pernais: He is. He's been very popular in Jamaica for years, ever since he was... I think before he got to the age of 10, he was like, really popular in Jamaica.

Doron: How was he popular before the age of 10?

Pernais: Because back home there was this competition every year, in the schools, where they get athletes, like, to compete against each other, like, and they're still quite young, they're just children.

Doron: And it's really popular? Is it like, on TV?

Pernais: It's very popular. It's on TV. All the adults go out to watch.

Doron: Wow.

Pernais: It's amazing.

Doron: Now as an English man, I mean, we love to watch really professional sports, but I remember being amazed that Americans are so crazy about college sports. And now I'm hearing that Jamaicans are crazy about under 10 running.

Pernais: Yes.

Doron: Wow.

Pernais: There's this competition back home called "Boys and Girls Championships". It's... just amazing. These children, just running their hearts out.

Doron: What kind of events do they do?

Pernais: Mostly sprints. Jamaicans focus more on sprints than on the longer races. Yeah. So, you have the hundred meter, 200 meter, 400 meter races. There are a lot of relays. We love our relays. And field activities as well, such as long jump, high jump, triple jump.

Doron: All the big Olympics events, right?

Pernais: Yes.

Doron: Can anyone take part, or is it, you have to like, win your school and then your area event, or something?

Pernais: I think the schools can enter like, any athlete who wants to take part. So if you've been training with your track and field club at school, and you're doing well, they can just send you up for the competition.

Doron: Wow. And did Bolt win that? Presumably...

Pernais: Oh, he kept winning. From an early age, he was always winning.