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On Usain Bolt's Magical Yams

A scene from the Trelawny Yam Festival.

The fake-named Horace Helps of Reuters has written one of the great ledes in sports journalism history, concerning the recent 100-meter dash finals. The dateline is Kingston, Jamaica:

Usain Bolt streaked to 100 metres Olympic gold at the Beijing Olympics on Saturday thanks to yam power, his father said....

"It is definitely the Trelawny yam," Bolt senior told Reuters seconds after his son smashed the world record on the way to landing the biggest gold medal in sport.

The yam grown in the parish Trelawny is one of the staples that has made the area famous. It is sold in huge volumes here and much of it is exported. Citizens of the area believe that it has medicinal properties.

Seconds after? Like: "Holy cow look at my son! He's destroying everyone else in the world! He's coasting to a world record! Hey, reporter person! Guess what, it was the yams!

Colleague Dave Sheinin actually ate some Trelawny yams during his recent trip to Bolt's place in Jamaica. "They were great," he said. "But I love yams anyway."

Drink yam wine, make Olympics.

The region hosts an annual yam festival, as you might have guessed. This guy wrote about it.

As Popeye, that great nautical adventurer and philosopher, once explained, "I yam what I yam and that's all that's I yam." No truer words were ever spoken at the Trelawny Yam Festival in Jamaica, held March 24, when Jamaica's top yam-producing region celebrates its favorite tuber with the crowning of the Yam King and Queen and displays of 450-pound monster yams, oddly shaped yams, and the best quality yam.

According to the festival's Web site, there is also Yam wine, and the Yam Hill Digging Competition, which "tests farmer's skills to see who can dig the best yam hill." There's also "the ever popular roast yam & saltfish" dish. And it goes without saying that "no Yam Festival would be complete without the Best Dressed Donkey & Best Dressed Goat Competitions."

You know, all those years when I was eating the ever popular roast yam and saltfish dish and trying to figure out which was the best-dressed yam-themed donkey, I never realized that those yams could be the key to Olympic immortality. If Usain Bolt doesn't have a Yam Wine sponsorship deal before the end of August, he needs to fire his agent.

By Dan Steinberg  |  August 17, 2008; 11:29 AM ET
Categories:  Olympics  
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Next: Only One of These Links Is Related to Michael Phelps


Tell me a Yam Festival wouldn't be right at home in Fredonia...

Posted by: Rob Iola | August 17, 2008 1:45 PM | Report abuse

Gilbert goes on an all-yam diet in 5...4...3...2...

Posted by: | August 18, 2008 7:14 AM | Report abuse

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