Usain Bolt will be competing at the 2012 London Olympics with the legend of Bob Marley on his shoulders. The world-record holder in the 100 and 200 metres and the rest of his Jamaican track and field teammates will be wearing uniforms designed by the reggae great’s daughter, Cedella Marley.

“We both break records,” Marley told The Associated Press yesterday in a telephone interview. “Marleys. Bolt. Legendary.”

Marley, the first-born daughter of Bob and Rita Marley, is a singer, author and fashion designer. She was picked by athletic apparel company Puma, the Jamaican team’s sponsor, to create the clothes that the athletes will wear on the track, on the podium and in the ceremonies.

“I can’t think of a better person to design our Olympic outfits than Cedella,” Bolt said in a statement. “Puma got that right… hooking up with a legendary Jamaican.

“It’s going to be inspirational to run in London with that energy surrounding me.”

Bolt broke the records in the 100 and 200 at the 2008 Beijing Games, and then did the same at the 2009 World Championships in Berlin. With the possible exception of Bob Marley, Bolt is the most famous Jamaican there is.

“Being a Jamaica No 1, being a Marley No 2, and then being able to outfit not only Usain, but the entire team, it’s a proud moment for all of us, everyone in my family,” Marley said.

Marley said she took her inspiration for the uniforms from music, various cultures and Jamaica from the 1970s and 80s.

“I want to bring the old and the new Jamaica together,” she said. “It should be Grace Jones meets Bob Marley on the track, and we’re going to have fire on the field.”

And when it comes to the uniform Bolt will be wearing next year in London, fans can count on something a little bit different from his teammates.

“We’re going to have something special for him. Only for him,” said Marley, who has yet to meet Bolt, but said she is expecting to work with him in March in Jamaica. “We’re going to work together.”

The names of Marley and Bolt are probably the two most recognised from Jamaica in the world, so it only made sense to put them together for the Olympics in London.

But it took a chance phone meeting between Marley and Puma chairman and CEO Jochen Zeitz to get the collaboration up and running.

“I said, ‘Yo Mr Puma, how come you’ve not done anything with the Marleys? Come on, you know, Puma, Marley, Jamaica. It makes sense,”‘ Marley said.

“And he just said, ‘Well, you know, Cedella, everything takes time.’ And like two weeks later I got a phone call. I guess it was time,” said Marley.

For Puma, the desire to create something that will both aid the team in winning medals and make a splash in the design world was strong. And they’ll work together to make sure the fashion end of the deal doesn’t interfere with the performance specifications.

“A lot of people are going to be looking at Mr. Bolt,” Puma chief marketing officer Antonio Bertone said of the 2012 Games.

“It’s going to be London. It’s going to be an amazing location for the Olympics.”

As for the Marley legacy, Bob’s daughter said her father is already enjoying the fruits of her labour.

“Oh man, he loves it,” Marley said of her late father, who died in 1981 but would have celebrated his 66th birthday this weekend. “This is a nice birthday present for him.”


Taken from the Jamaica Observer