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The Jamaican Bobsled Team Have Qualified For The Beijing Olympics

by : Hannah Smith on :
The Jamaican Bob Sled Team Have Qualified For The Beijing OlympicsDisney/@TeamJA876/Twitter

A four-man Jamaican bobsled team will compete at the Winter Olympics for the first time in 24 years, as the country is set to send one of its biggest-ever cohorts to the games.

The four-man team qualified for the final of the 28 places available for the upcoming Beijing Olympics, marking the first time since 1998 that the country has had representation in the category.

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The Beijing games will also mark the first time that Jamaica has qualified for three bobsled events, securing spots in the two-man sled and women’s monobob categories.

Jamaican bobsledders (Alamy)Alamy

The Jamaican bobsled team has been the subject of international fascination since the country made its debut at the 1988 Calgary Olympics, inspiring the Disney film Cool Runnings. Spectators at the Winter Olympics have looked out for the green, yellow and black sled ever since, and while Jamaica competed in at least one men’s bobsled event between 1988 and 2002, since then representation has been thin on the ground.

A four-man Jamaican bobsled team hasn’t competed at the Olympics since the 1998 Nagano games, when Chris and Dudley Stokes of the original quartet behind Cool Runnings made their last appearances, NBC Sports reports.

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Chris Stokes is now the president of Jamaica’s Bobsled Federation, and appears to be overseeing a revival of the men’s bobsled team’s fortunes.

This year’s team is expected to be piloted by Shanwayne Stephens, who went viral during lockdown after posting a video of himself and teammate Nimroy Turgott training by pushing a Mini Cooper through the streets of Peterborough.

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Stephens is likely to be joined by Rolando Reid, Ashley Watson and Matthew Wekpe, who have been the push athletes behind Stephens at all of the team’s international events in the run up to the games.

Jamaica’s participation in the four-man event will carry added poignancy as it marks the first time the team has qualified since the death of Sam Clayton, Jamaica’s first-ever bobsled driver. Clayton passed away in 2020 of complications related to Covid-19, with his former teammates paying tribute to him as ‘a pioneer of pioneers’.

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There was further success elsewhere for Jamaica, which qualified an athlete for the Alpine skiing event for the first time in history.

Joining the Jamaican athletes on the Beijing ice track will by Trinidad & Tobago’s two-man bobsled crew, who qualified for the games to become the country’s first Winter Olympians in 20 years.

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Hannah Smith

Hannah is a London-based journalist covering news and features for UNILAD. She's especially interested in social and political activism.

Topics: Sport

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@Team_JA876/Twitter
  1. @Team_JA876/Twitter

    BREAKING: JAMAICA, WE HAVE A BOBSLED TEAM HEADING TO BEIJING!