Jamaica national bobsleigh team
This article needs additional citations for verification. (November 2012) (Learn how and when to remove this template message)
The Jamaican national bobsleigh team represents Jamaica in international bobsledding competitions. The team first gained fame during their debut in the 1988 Winter Olympic Games four-man bobsled in Calgary, Alberta, where they were seen as underdogs as they represented a tropical nation in a winter sport. The team returned to the Winter Olympics in the two-man bobsled in 1992, 1994, 1998, 2002, 2014, and with a women's team for the first time in 2018. The team either failed to qualify or did not have a team during the other Winter Olympics.
The team, consisting of Devon Harris, Dudley Stokes, Michael White, Freddy Powell, and last minute replacement Chris Stokes, debuted at the 1988 Winter Olympics in Calgary, Alberta. The team was coached by Howard Siler, an Olympic bobsledder for the United States in 1972 and 1980. They quickly became very popular, largely because of their status as the ultimate "underdog" story of the games. Alongside the novelty of a tropical country competing in a cold-weather sport, the team had very little experience going down a bobsled track, and borrowed spare sleds from other countries to compete. In a show of sporting camaraderie across national boundaries, other bobsledders were quick to give them guidance and support. They did not officially finish after losing control of the sled and crashing during their final run. Dudley Stokes and Michael White entered the two-man bobsled event as well, finishing 30th out of the 41 competing teams. The movie Cool Runnings is loosely based on their experience in the four-men event at the 1988 games.
The team returned to the Olympics in the 1992 Winter Olympics in Albertville, France, but finished poorly. They qualified again for the 1994 Winter Olympics in Lillehammer, Norway. There, the Jamaican four sled stunned many of their critics by finishing in 14th place, ahead of the United States, Russia, Australia, and France.
At the 2002 Winter Olympics in Salt Lake City, 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 seconds. Jamaica failed to qualify for the 2006 Winter Olympics in Turin, Italy, or the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver, Canada. They did, however, qualify for the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia as a two-man bobsled.
Jamaica also competed in women's bobsleigh, with a crew of two, consisting of pilot Porscha Morgan and Wycombe Cole on brakes, winning World Push Championship titles in 2000 and 2001. They achieved the fastest push times in all runs, resulting in a landslide victory. These women initiated the Jamaican women bobsleigh team/program and were seen as contenders in the sport. However, the women's programme suffered a setback because of lack of funding, and brakeman Wynsome Cole suffered injuries due to a crash, resulting in the team having to withdraw from a few of the competitions.
The Jamaican women's team was revived after the 2014 Winter Olympics, with KayMarie Jones and Salcia Slack competing in a North American Cup race in November 2014, becoming the first Jamaican female crew to have competed internationally in over a decade. One of the athletes on the revived team was Natalia Stokes, daughter and niece of former Jamaican bobsledders Chris and Dudley Stokes.
Having qualified for the 2014 Sochi Olympics, but lacking funding, the cryptocurrency Dogecoin community raised on the team's behalf $30,000 of the approximately $40,000 required within two days. An online campaign was set up, seeking to raise an additional $80,000 through the crowdfunding platform Tilt. When it closed on 22 January 2014, the campaign had raised $129,687, far surpassing the target.
After the 2014 Olympics former Olympic medallist and former coach of the Dutch and United States bobsleigh teams Todd Hays was appointed head coach and technical director of the Jamaican team. However he had to leave his role after one season due to a lack of funds to pay his salary, although he continued to work with the team in an unofficial capacity. Ahead of the 2018 Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, South Korea, the Jamaican Bobsleigh Federation invested significantly in the team, buying a new sled for the women's crew of Jazmine Fenlator-Victorian and Carrie Russell, and filling a number of coaching positions, with former British, Dutch and Brazilian coach Jo Manning becoming High-Performance Director, former Olympic and World Champion Sandra Kiriasis joining as driving coach and Dudley Stokes being appointed as coach responsible for performance, mental preparation and general logistics. In January 2018, the Jamaican women's team secured qualification for the Olympics for the first time. However the men's team missed out on Olympic qualification by one position in the world rankings. Days ahead of the start of bobsleigh training at the Games, Kiriasis parted ways with the Jamaica Bobsleigh Federation after she was told she would be demoted from her position as driver coach to the role of track and performance analyst. On 21 February Fenlator-Victorian and Russell finished 19th in the two-woman Olympic bobsleigh event.
The current team:
|Skeleton Rider||Anthony Watson|
|Skeleton Rider||Anthony Watson|
In popular culture
The 1988 team inspired the reggae parody song "Jamaican Bobsled" by The Rock 'n' Roll Animals, played on the GTR radio station and later released on the CD Yatta, Yatta, Yatta. The song was recorded after Jamaica had announced that they would be entering a bobsledding team into the Olympics, but before the Olympics had actually started; nevertheless, the lyrics accurately predict that the team would crash during one of their runs.
The 2014 team was the inspiration for "The Bobsled Song" written by Sidney Mills from the reggae band Steel Pulse, Jon Notar and Groove Guild. The music video features 8-bit graphics. The song is timed to sync up to the team's Sochi bobsled run. The song was widely shown on television Olympics coverage in the lead-up to the team's run.
- "Rewind To 1988: The real Cool Runnings". ESPN. 5 February 2014. Retrieved 15 December 2014.
- "Jamaican bobsleigh team are back in the running for Winter Olympics glory". 1 January 2014. Retrieved 15 December 2014.
- Zaccardi, Nick (14 July 2014). "Howard Siler, first Jamaica Bobsled coach, passes away". NBC Sports. Retrieved 17 July 2015.
- "Jamaican Bobsleigh Team Debut at Calgary 1988 Winter Olympics". YouTube. 15 November 2012. Retrieved 4 February 2014.
- Todor Krastev (5 February 2012). "Bobsleigh Fours XVI Winter Olympic Games 1994 Albertville (FRA) – 15,16.02". Todor66.com. Retrieved 4 February 2014.
- Todor Krastev (5 February 2012). "Bobsleigh Doubles XVI Winter Olympic Games 1992 Albertville (FRA) – 15,16.02". Todor66.com. Retrieved 4 February 2014.
- Todor Krastev (3 July 2012). "Bobsleigh Fours Olympic Games 1994 Lilehammer (NOR) - 26,27.02 Hunderfossen". www.todor66.com. Retrieved 27 September 2019.
- "Winter Olympics: Jamaica, we have a bobsled team". TVNZ. 29 January 2010. Retrieved 5 March 2010.
- Zaccardi, Nick (14 November 2014). "Jamaica (re)starts women's bobsled team". NBCSports.com. Retrieved 22 January 2015.
- Rigby, Caroline (25 December 2014). "Cool Runnings 2: Downhill Daughter - The real-life sequel". bbc.co.uk. Retrieved 22 January 2015.
- Alex Hern (20 January 2014). "It's bobsleigh time: Jamaican team raises $25,000 in Dogecoin | Technology". The Guardian. Retrieved 4 February 2014.
- "Dogecoin Jamaican Bobsled Team Olympics". Business Insider. 20 January 2014. Retrieved 4 February 2014.
- "Olympics: Fans help fund Jamaica bobsleigh Olympic bid". BBC News. 21 January 2014. Retrieved 21 January 2014.
- "Help the Jamaican Bobsled team get to Sochi!". Tilt.com. Retrieved 4 February 2014.
- Olivero, Antonio (28 January 2017). "Uphill push to Olympics". Adirondack Daily Enterprise. Retrieved 21 January 2018.
- Scott, Livingston (13 December 2017). "Bobsleigh Team Has Top Level Support". Jamaica Gleaner. Retrieved 21 January 2018.
- Keyser, Hannah (16 January 2018). "Thirty Years After Cool Runnings, Jamaican Women Qualify For Olympic Bobsled". Deadspin. Retrieved 21 January 2018.
- Zaccardi, Nick (22 January 2018). "Jamaica misses Olympic men's bobsled by one spot". NBCSports.com. Retrieved 23 January 2018.
- Thompson, Anna (14 February 2018). "Winter Olympics: Jamaica's women's bobsleigh coach Sandra Kiriasis quits". bbc.co.uk. Retrieved 25 February 2018.
- Grohmann, Karolos (15 February 2018). Stutchbury, Greg (ed.). "Bobsleigh: No reason given for my Jamaica team demotion, says Kiriasis". reuters.com. Retrieved 25 February 2018.
- "Team". Jamaica Bobsleigh Federation. Retrieved 15 March 2017.
- Kaduk, Kevin (16 February 2014). "The Jamaican bobsled team has an amazing theme song and music video". Yahoo Sports. Retrieved 24 February 2014.
- Wilkinson, Dan (21 February 2014). "The Jamaican Bobsled Team Just Released This Olympics Anthem". Vice. Retrieved 24 February 2014.