Jamaica qualified for Bobsled event at 2022 Winter Olympics for the first time in over 20 years

For the first time in decades, a Jamaican four-man bobsled team qualified for the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics, NBC reports. 

The journey of the first Jamaican Olympic bobsled team at the Winter Olympics in Calgary, Alberta, in 1988 inspired the 1993 movie Cool Runnings. Their story was the focus of the Calgary Olympics despite them placing 30th in the two-person sled event and suffering a crash at 85 mph in the four-person event, disqualifying them.

The four-man roster for Jamaican is not confirmed yet, but Shanwayne Stephens is expected to pilot the sled. Stephens and brakeman Nimroy Turgott, both members of the 2022 Jamaican bobsled Olympic team, spoke with the Today Show about their team qualifying for the games. This is the first  Olympics Turgott will attend.

“I am absolutely buzzing, I am happy and I am proud of myself and my teammates and what we have accomplished.  We are prepared to go to the Olympics to put on a great show, ” Turgott said. Today Show co-host Savannah Guthrie asked Stephens if was surprised by their accomplishments, before he replied “absolutely not.”

“We’ve put in a lot of work in the last four years to achieve what we’ve achieved. Over the lockdown we’ve even come up with our own way to get the training done because we didn’t want to leave any stone unturned when it came to qualifying for the Games,” Stephens said.

For the first time, team Jamaica qualified in three different bobsled events: the four-man and two-man events and the newly added women’s monobob event. The original team, who didn’t have access to a training facility, prepared for the Calgary Games with a roughly-made sled on a concrete track and had never seen a bobsled before.

“I remember saying to myself, ‘Nobody could ever get me to go on one of those things,'” original team member Devon Harris told NBC’s Today Show in 2018. “That’s crazy.”

Jamaica has peaked at 14th place in the men’s bobsled competition, but the 2022 team is determined to beat that rank. “Jamaica bobsled is about overcoming incredible odds,” Chris Stokes, the original member of the Jamaican bobsled team and now president of Jamaica’s bobsled federation, said in 2018.

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