It started with a 10-second sliver of time. Like all of his fellow Jamaicans, Sandals Resorts International’s Executive Chairman, Adam Stewart, had planned his schedule around those 10 ticks of the clock in the days leading up to the night of July 31. No phone calls. No dishes to be done. The only business at hand would be watching the women’s 100-meter finals in track-and-field at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics. Jamaican sprinters have dominated the event over the years, but what happened this time set off a celebration that, thanks to Stewart and the Sandals Resorts family, will not fade for quite a while.
Jamaicans initially erupted when the 10-second race culminated with the threesome of Elaine Thompson-Herah, Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce, and Shericka Jackson crossing the finish line in first, second, and third place. It continued when they draped themselves in their country’s flag and posed for pictures.
Stewart immediately took his enthusiasm to Instagram, posting: “Clean sweep from the Jamaican woman athletes… simply incredible… you made history and your country is so proud!”
A short time later, when the ladies stood on the all-Jamaican medal stand, Stewart added to the moment with an unexpected follow-up post: “The World’s Best deserve The World’s Best. Complimentary vacations at Sandals when the Olympics are over for our girls!”
The responses were about as swift as the race itself:
Can I carry their bags?
I knew I should’ve competed this year.
This is incredible. They deserve it.
It seemed like a good fit: The world’s best athletes staying in the world’s best suites. Enjoying the world’s best butler service. Dining on the world’s best food with the world’s best views on the world’s best beaches…
It almost seemed too good to be true.
Then, barely 24 hours later, Megan Tapper won a bronze medal for Jamaica in the 100-meter hurdles. Stewart pumped his fists, let out a victory yell, and typed out another message for Tapper: “The World’s Best continue to deserve The World’s Best. We got you Megan.”
In other words, she’ll be relaxing at one of the six Sandals Resorts in Jamaica, too, upon her return home.
The excitement extended to the staffs at those resorts. After watching the races, the Sandals teams found out they’d be hosting those same athletes, giving them an opportunity to thank them for their grit and commitment the best way they know how: by exceeding their expectations as resort guests (and who could possibly have higher expectations than an Olympic athlete?).
They, too, would receive the five-star treatment at Sandals Resorts on their respective home islands.
“The performances our athletes have delivered are just what we need to lift our collective spirits,” Stewart said.
He wanted to keep that spirit warm even when the Olympic flame went out on August 8th. Knowing the difficult conditions all Caribbean athletes have faced, knowing the odds they’ve been up against, knowing the sacrifice of their sweat and tears, Stewart made a stunning announcement:
“While medal winners will receive a no-limit Sandals vacation, any athlete who traveled to Tokyo and competed for an island where Sandals has a resort and proud staff (Jamaica, Grenada, The Bahamas, Barbados, Antigua, Saint Lucia, and Saint Vincent and the Grenadines) will be given a complimentary four-night stay.”
That’s nearly 100 world-class athletes enjoying the ultimate recovery time. A Caribbean Team supporting Caribbean dreams.
Ariel view of Sandals Grande Antigua
A butler will soon bring an endless supply of mango smoothies to boxer Alston Ryan while he relaxes on the gorgeous beach at Sandals Grande Antigua. A masseuse will turn swimmer Mikaili Charlemagne into butter at one of the three Sandals Resorts in Saint Lucia. Barbados’ six sprinters will slow down and chill in the suites beyond their dreams at the Sandals on their home island.
Asked to explain the generosity, Stewart’s national pride still percolates as he says, “We cannot wait to roll out the red carpet because we can never thank these athletes enough for everything they do for their countries and for the Caribbean region as a whole.”
But he sure is trying. As one commenter summed up so well: “This type of gratitude is beyond words.”