The Jamaican Bobsled Team Has Qualified For The 2022 Winter Olympics - Men's Health Magazine Australia

The Jamaican Bobsled Team Has Qualified For The 2022 Winter Olympics

Feel the rhythm, feel the rhyme. Get on up: it’s bobsled time!

Everyone loves an underdog story, particularly in the world of sport. We want to see the newcomer triumph over the top-seed, for the doors to be opened to someone who previously thought such lofty goals were too far out of reach. When it comes to such tales of underdog triumph, you can’t look past 1993’s Cool Runnings, a movie inspired by the Jamaican athletes who attended their first-ever Winter Olympics at the 1988 Calgary Games. Naturally, the film took creative license, but for those who have seen it and still tear up at the ending which sees the four-man team crash, only to walk to the finish line while pushing the heavy sled, this event really happened. And in doing so, the Jamaican team captured the hearts and minds of audiences around the world, coming to be immortalised in Disney film for decades to come. 

Now, it’s been confirmed that another crew of Jamaican bobsledders will be representing their home country at this year’s Winter Olympic Games in Beijing. The four-man team made it into the top 28 places to qualify for the Games, marking the first time a Jamaican four-man bobsled team will compete in 24 years since last appearing at the 1998 Nagano Olympics. 

For the event, it’s believed Shanwayne Stephens will pilot the sled, with Rolando Reid, Ashley Watson and Matthew Wekpe joining as push sledders. Their final event of the season saw the four-man team finish in the top five at the North American Cup. Posting to Facebook upon receiving the news that he had been picked to go to Beijing, Watson was quick to thank all of his supporters and close team. 

“A childhood dream has come a reality,” he wrote in a post. “I gave up on this dream a few years back although I knew the elite athlete in me hasn’t died yet and had unfinished business. Blood, sweat and tears went into this and it has paid off! Best day of my sporting career! I was honoured to selected to compete in 13 out of the 16 races this season and gave it all I had.”

It’s exciting news for Jamaica, who will also be sending a two-man team, alongside a women’s mono-bobsled to compete. According to the BBC, the country narrowly missed out on a chance to secure a spot in the two-woman bobsled event due to a tiebreak, but could still have a chance of competing in the event should another nation give up their spot. Even so, it’s the first time Jamaica has ever sent three bobsled teams to an Olympics. 

The Jamaican Bobsleigh and Skeleton Federation is now hoping to raise funds to afford new sleds needed for competition at the Olympic Games. With two mono-bobs and a four-man bobsled team, they’ll need close to $200,000. Given that Cool Runnings remains one of the most popular movies of all time, we can only assume many fans around the world will be quick to donate to the cause. After all, who won’t get glassy-eyed seeing Jamaica toe the line of the event, perhaps mouthing to ourselves the mantra that’s stayed with us all these years: “Feel the rhythm! Feel the rhyme! Get on up: it’s bobsled time!”

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