Cool Runnings II: Jamaican team qualifies yet again for the bobsleigh

A Jamaican team has successfully qualified for the bobsleigh team at the Sochi Olympics

Stop me if you have heard this one before.

It’s the one about the Jamaican Bobsleigh team who have qualified for the Winter Olympics, only to have their dreams threatened by a lack of funding to send them to the games.

Of course, just as John Turtletaub’s 1993 cult film Cool Runnings was loosely based on the true story of the 1988 Olympic team, the current story is true, Jamaica have once again qualified a team for the two man bobsleigh event in Sochi.

Following the final qualification event this past weekend the Jamaican sled, consisting of Driver Winston Watts and brakeman Marvin Dixon ended in 39th position, outside of the top 30 that would automatically qualify. But with quotas enforced on the number of teams that each nation can enter, the Caribbean island found themselves elevated into 29th position and high enough to secure a return to the Winter Olympics for the first time since 2002.

But despite Watts having invested £100,000 of his own money, the team still needed around $40,000 in funding to ensure that they would be able to compete in Sochi.

However, following an appeal for funding, they have already managed to raise $30,000 on Dogecoin and look certain to be able to make the trip to Russia, showing the legacy of Cool Runnings still endures today.

“As someone who grew up in the 90’s, Cool Runnings was the ultimate feel good movie about underdogs out of their element achieving their dreams,” Liam Butler, who runs the Dogecoin foundation along with the currency’s initial creators Jackson Palmer and Billy Markus told the Guardian.

No other nation seems to have developed such affinity with the public, and despite it being 20 years since the release of the Disney film, it is still something that resonates today, with its tale of the underdog succeeding despite the odds being stacked against them and then the acceptance that they achieve.  Watts and Dixon have even gotten themselves into the spirit of the occasion, describing themselves as: “Cool Runnings, the Second Generation.”

There is some pedigree for success in the event from Jamaica, with the 4-man bobsleigh team having finished in a creditable 14th place in the 1994 Olympics in Lillehammer, while Lascellas Brown, who competed for Jamaica in 2002 in Salt Lake City, having taken Canadian citizenship following his marriage in  2004, won a silver medal in Turn in 2006 and then a bronze in Vancouver in 2010, showing that the theory expounded in Cool Runnings that the natural strength in sprinting that the island has could translate into success in the bobsleigh.  At the 2002 Salt Lake City Winter Olympics, the 2-man team of Winston Watts (pilot) and Lascelles Brown (brakeman), set the Park City bobsled track record and the Olympic record for the push-start segment of the 2-man race at 4.78.

However, as the 29th best team in a 30 team event, the chance of Watts and Dixon succeeding where their predecessors have failed and actually winning a first Winter Olympic medal for Jamaica are slim.  But for Jamaica, in the true Olympic spirit, the most important thing is not the winning but the taking part, as stated by founder of the Olympics, Baron Pierre de Coubertin.

Watts and Dixon will probably not achieve a medal, nor will they be featuring in contention in the closing stages of the bobsleigh event, but by just qualifying for Sochi they have achieved their Olympic dream…

And unlike in the film, where they were looked down upon by the other nations, their qualification for Sochi will be supported by the other nations, particularly glad of the extra attention that there qualification will put on the event.  In fact, the news of the Jamaican’s qualification even pushed the news that the British team had produced a fantastic performance on 11th at the weekend which secured them not only a second team in the 4-man bobsleigh event, but also a spot in the 2-man into the background.

But on Sunday 16th February when the 2-man bobsleigh event at the Sliding Centre Sanki gets underway, the eyes of the world will be on the Jamaican team.

And when they begin their run, the reaction from the spectators around the world will be simple.

Feel the rhythm

Feel the rhyme

Get on up

It’s bobsled time

Discussion feed

Up next in