BEIJING - Triple Olympic sprint gold medalist Jamaican Usain Bolt on Saturday made a personal donation of US$50,000 to children in the earthquake-stricken Sichuan Province, and wished people there to "get through from the tragedy" and move forward with the inspiration of the Olympic Games.
Usain Bolt of Jamaica (R) poses for photos with Huang Siyu, 13, a survivor of the Sichuan earthquake (C) and Miss World, Zhang Zilin, (L) during a photocall at the Westin hotel in Beijing on August 23, 2008. Bolt donated US$50,000 to the Red Cross Society of China. [Agencies]
"We came here, tried to perform well," said the Jamaican, who claimed the gold medals in men's 100m and 200m sprint as well as the 4x100m relay at the Beijing Olympic Games. "I hope people enjoy the games, forget the past and move on."
"You have to move forward after the disaster. And also, the Olympics ask people to move forward," he added.
An 8.0-magnitude tremor hit the southwestern Chinese province and its neighboring regions on May 12, killing nearly 70,000 people and leaving some 18,000 others missing. At least 10 million people lost their homes to the disaster.
Bolt said that he had seen reports of the earthquake on TV for a long time. "It makes me feel sorry for the victims, so I ask my management team to do something," said Bolt in an exclusive interview with Xinhua, after delivering the cheque to Liu Xuanguo, secretary-general of the Red Cross Foundation of China.
Two children from Sichuan, confined to wheelchairs due to quake-inflicted injuries, presented their paintings to Bolt as gifts.
"They are kids. They deserve a better future," Bolt said, crouching between the wheelchairs. "I hope they can still enjoy themselves, because they are still kids. And, it's great for kids to live in joys. I just want to help them."
"I'm looking forward (to) more people coming out and helping them." Bolt said.
Weeks before the opening of the Beijing Games, Bolt had trained in Tianjin, a north China port city some 120 km from Beijing. He was given a painting there, which depicted Chinese soldiers rescuing kids from under the rubble.
"I still keep the painting, and will definitely bring it home," Bolt told Xinhua. "I really appreciate it."
Talking about the Olympic Games, Bolt said that he was welcome in China, and was moved by the Chinese people. He said he was moved to tears on the night of winning the 200m race, when more than 90,000 spectators in the National Stadium, or the Bird's Nest, sang "happy birthday" for him.
The Jamaican sprinter just turned 22 two days ago.