Bobsleigh team of Jamaica again at the Winter Olympics
We all remember the legendary performance of the bobsleigh four-man team of Jamaica at the 1988 Winter Olympics in Calgary when we had the first opportunity to see competitors from this country in the said discipline. After more than two decades and the Nagano Olympics in 1998, the aforementioned team will meet again at the Olympic Games, this time in Beijing. This team will attract a lot of attention again, as well as the one from 34 years ago, based on whose performances the popular Disney film “Cool Runnings” was made in the 1990s. That 1988 bobsleigh team was the main attraction because Jamaica was not known as a country of winter sports then or today, although the popularity of these sports is growing.
In the mentioned film, due to the desire to do everything in the spirit of Hollywood, not everything that really happened at the mentioned Olympic Games was shown, because some things are exaggerated. The first association with Jamaica is athletics, ie great sprinters, and fast legs are definitely a characteristic that is needed to practice bobsleigh. The team competing in Canada consisted of Dudley Stokes, Devon Harris, Michael White and Chris Stokes. This team arrived at the competition with a borrowed bobsleigh and without real training on the ice. They did the first race quite decently, but they overturned in the second run. Like real heroes, they walked to the finish line, gently pushing their bobsleigh. They were much better six years later in Lillehammer when they took 14th place, leaving behind the USA, Russia, Australia and France. Four years ago, the women’s bobsleigh team made its debut at the Winter Olympics.
The Bobsleigh four man team of Jamaica has managed to qualify again for the Winter Olympics after more than two decades, and this time this team will consist of: Shanwayne Stephens, Rolando Reid, Ashley Watson, and Matthew Wekpe. Stephens will be the pilot in this crew and he currently lives in the UK where he works as an RAF gunner. Watson, who is a physiotherapist by profession, will operate the brakes, and after securing a place in the Olympics, he said: ‘It has taken consistent training for 10 years, and I want to show that no matter who you are or where you come from, if you have a dream and you believe, it will happen,’ he told the Yorkshire Post after helping Jamaica qualify. ‘If you’re ready to sacrifice lots to get there it will happen – life has no limits.’
Whatever the result of this team, they will be great winners, and their victory is already reflected in the fact that the popularity of this sport in Jamaica is growing from year to year. The Bobsleigh team of Jamaica will compete in two-man and four-man competitions, and the women’s monobob in which Jazmine Fenlator-Victorian will compete. She previously competed for the USA, and in the previous games, as well as in these games, she will play for his father’s homeland. “I’m honestly looking forward to competing against the world’s best as well as embracing the entire inaugural appearance”. “There are not many people who can say they have qualified and competed in three Olympics. I’m going to soak up every minute of the experience.”
Jamaica will also have a representative in alpine skiing as Benjamin Alexander will compete in the giant slalom. For the first time in the history, Jamaica will have a representative in skiing. The former world-famous DJ has shown that everything is possible and it is certain that, like his teammates, he will enjoy Beijing where he will write new pages of history. “Realistically, my job is about going to the opening ceremony, having a good time and showing other Jamaicans, other minorities, other people who didn’t start skiing at the age of two, that crazy things can happen and dreams can come true”.