“Nuff people say they know they can’t believe, Jamaica we have a bobsled team“
People were amazed in 1988 Winter Olympic Games in Calgary Canada when the Jamaicans sent their first ever bobsled team into competition. Their feat inspired the hit 1993 Disney Film Cool Runnings. However, the Jamaican’s haven’t been able to qualify a team since the 2002 Olympic games in Salt Lake City. And now, after a 12-year absence from the world’s most coveted competition, the Jamaicans have qualified a two-man bobsled team to compete in the 2014 Winter Olympic Games in Sochi.
The two-man team consists of two former Jamaican Bobsled Olympians: Winston Watts and Lascelles Brown.
Brown (age 39) competed for Jamaica from 1999 to 2004; competing at the 2002 Winter Olympics in Salt Lake City, as a brakeman for Winston Watt. After the games, Brown decided to stay at Calgary‘s Canada Olympic Park and train there. While training, Brown met and married his wife Kara (a Canadian). He applied for Canadian citizenship in 2005; and it was awarded to him just prior to the 2006 Winter Olympics in Turin, Italy. Thus allowing Brown to compete for Canada in the games.
While competing under his new flag at the Turin Olympic Games, Brown won a silver medal in tandem. He also won a bronze for Canada in the 2010 Vancouver Olympic Games, while competing in the four-man bobsled.
Watts (Age 46) retired from bobsledding after failing to qualify Jamaica for both the Turin and Vancouver Olympic games. However, in 2010, (at the age of 43) the veteran of three previous Jamaican Olympic Teams (1994, 1998 and 2002) made the decision to return to the ice and give it another shot.
“When you give up something that you love, you just can’t let go,” explained the Jamaican driver. “I’m back and I’m hungry for success. I’m very excited! I know that with my comeback, a good brakeman and the right financial backing, we can create another bit of history”.1
Although the quote doesn’t seem to emphasize it much, but the “right financial backing” was originally a much bigger deal than most would realize. Watts told the London Telegraph, “In truth, we still don’t really know at the moment if we’d even have enough funds or sponsorship to fly to Sochi for the Games itself. It all depends. Our families need to be taken care of first. If there’s no funding, who knows?”2
On January 19, Watts started an online fundraising effort to raise the $80,000 that the team needs in order to make the trip and participate. The team is pursuing a crowd-sourcing effort; seeking to harness a few dollars from thousands of people rather than thousands of dollars from just a few people. Well, thanks to the film Cool Runnings, the worldwide fan base has been more than generous in helping the duo reach their goal. In fact, in just two days, the fundraising campaign had earned over $100,000—Far surpassing what the duo needed and originally thought possible.
I think it’s safe to say that in the Jamaican bobsled team will always be champions of the icy tundra to the Internet and in the hearts of all 80’s/90’s children. And I think it’s only appropriate to pump our selves up for their debut by chanting to ourselves the chant that all fans of the film still remember whether you admit it or not…Feel the rhythm! Feel the rhyme! Get on up, its bobsled time! COOL RUNNINGS!