Jamaica Returns to Winter Olympics With New Bobsled Team
Every child of the ’90s remembers Cool Runnings, the 1993 sports comedy movie about an underdog team of Jamaican bobsledders who train to compete at the Winter Olympics. The movie, which was directed by Jon Turteltaub and starred Leon Robinson, Doug E. Doug, and John Candy, was loosely based on the real 1988 Jamaican bobsled team, which overcame enormous obstacles (like, y’know, the fact that there isn’t exactly a whole lot of snow or ice on the tropical island of Jamaica) to compete at the Olympics.
Since 1988, Jamaica has returned to bobsled several times, and competed in both men’s and women’s events. But it’s been over 20 years since Jamaica competed in the four-man bobsled event. At the just-started 2022 Beijing Olympics, though, a new four-man Jamaican bobsled team is ready to compete. 2022 also marks the first time Jamaica has competed in three different bobsled events at a single Olympics: four-man bobsled, two-man and the new women’s monobob event.
Olympics.com has the full story, including an interview with team pilot Shanwayne Stephens. (The other team members are Ashley Watson, Matthew Wekpe, Nimroy Turgott, and Rolando Reid.) He says the crew is out to prove “we’re more than just a movie,’ adding:
We want to show we're actually fierce competitors and we're out there to put on a really good performance at the Games ... we were completely locked down over COVID and we wanted to make sure that we were 100 percent prepared to be able to qualify. So we had to come up with creative ways of getting the training done. So myself and Nimroy, we were locked down in my house together, so we decided to go out and push my fiance's Mini up and down the street.
If you want to follow along with Stephens and the rest of the Jamaican bobsled team’s journey in Beijing, Stephens frequently updates his Instagram account.
The Jamaican Olympic team has an Instagram account full of pictures as well.
Here’s Stephens and Turgott talking about the team on The Today Show:
You can watch the Winter Olympics on NBC, USA Network, as well as streaming on Peacock.