Usain Bolt raced to the rescue to help fellow-Jamaican Samantha Albert on the long and tortuous road to the London Olympics.
The triple Olympic sprint champion donated and signed three of his designer running shirts.
Italian jockey Frankie Dettori chipped in with dinner for four at the London restaurant he owns. Every prize in the raffle helped raise much-needed funds for Albert and her dashing grey Danny who are now on course for the three-day event at the 2012 Games, being staged next week against the dramatic backdrop of the Royal Naval College in Greenwich. The raffle raised 3,000 pounds ($4,700). Now she is having another one at her local village pub with the landlord putting on a Jamaican evening with jerk chicken and shots of rum for all. “Usain Bolt very kindly signed three shirts and wrote some cards saying ‘Good luck Sam, and see you in the village.’ He was very positive,” said Albert, the only white competitor in the Caribbean island’s Olympic team.
Albert, born in Canada to an English father and a Jamaican mother, took her mare Before I Do It to the 2008 Beijing Olympics where she became Jamaica’s first equestrian competitor. They sailed through the dressage, completed a tough cross-country course but then were eliminated in the show jumping after two refusals. This time it is the turn of Danny, who used to be ridden by Britain’s Tina Cook. They just qualified for the Olympics in the nick of time in February at Ballindinesk in Ireland. It was real heart-in-your mouth stuff as her first choice horse, Squirt, stopped halfway round and said “No, I am not doing this any longer. He just stopped,” Albert said.
Danny, who had been cross-country schooled only once in the winter, qualified. “I burst into tears with the whole relief of it. I couldn’t believe I had done it,” Albert, who was married to Swedish eventer Dag Albert, told Reuters.