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Jamaica's two-man bobsleigh at the 2014 Winter Olympics
Jamaica's two-man bobsleigh at the 2014 Winter Olympics
Jamaican bobsleigh in 2009
Jamaican bobsleigh in 2009

The Jamaica national bobsleigh team represents Jamaica in international bobsleighing competitions. The men's team debut in the 1988 Winter Olympic Games four-man bobsleigh in Calgary, Alberta,[1] was received as underdogs in a cold weather sport represented by a nation with a tropical environment. Jamaica returned to the Winter Olympics in the two-man bobsleigh in 1992, 1994, 1998, 2002, 2014 and 2022; a women's team debuted in 2018.[2]

Beginnings

Main article: Jamaica at the 1988 Winter Olympics § Bobsleigh

The debut team, consisting of Devon Harris, Dudley Stokes, Michael White, Freddy Powell, and last minute replacement Chris Stokes, qualified at the 1988 Winter Olympic Games in Calgary, Alberta. Their coach was Howard Siler, an Olympic bobsledder for the United States in 1972 and 1980.[3] Their "underdog" status as an unlikely competitor in a cold weather sport represented by a nation with a tropical environment quickly gained them popularity at the Games. They had little experience in the sport and had to appeal to other teams for basic equipment in order to compete; sporting camaraderie across national boundaries followed. In the third out of four runs, they lost control of the sleigh, crashed, and did not officially finish.[4] Dudley Stokes and Michael White entered the two-man bobsleigh event, finishing 30th out of 41 teams.[5]

Evolution

The team returned to the Olympics at the 1992 Winter Olympic Games in Albertville, France, and finished 25th.[6][7] They qualified for the 1994 Winter Olympic Games in Lillehammer, Norway. Critics were stunned when they finished in 14th place, ahead of the United States, Russia, Australia, and France.[8]

At the 2000 World Push in Monaco the team won the gold medal.[9]

At the 2002 Winter Olympic Games 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 Olympic Games in Turin, Italy, and the 2010 Winter Olympic Games in Vancouver, Canada. The two-man bobsled team qualified for the 2014 Winter Olympic Games in Sochi, Russia.[2]

Jamaica National Women's Bobsleigh team

Jamaica competed in women's bobsleigh, with a crew of two coached by Norwegian Trond Knaplund, consisting of pilot Porscha Morgan and Wynsome Cole on brakes, winning World Push 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. The 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.[citation needed]

The team returned to competition at the 2014 Winter Olympic Games, with KayMarie Jones and Salcia Slack competing in a North American Cup race in November 2014, ending an over 10 year absence of a Jamaican female crew in international competition.[10] One of the athletes on the revived team was Natalia Stokes, daughter and niece of former Jamaican bobsledders Chris and Dudley Stokes.[11]

Modern day

Jamaica qualified for the 2014 Winter Olympic Games, lacked funding, but within two days the cryptocurrency Dogecoin community raised on the team's behalf $30,000 of the approximately $40,000.[12][13] An online campaign was set up, seeking to raise an additional $80,000 through the crowdfunding platform Tilt.[14] The campaign closed on 22 January 2014, and surpassed the target goal having collected $129,687.[15]

Following the 2014 Winter Olympic Games, Todd Hays, former Olympic medalist and former coach of the Dutch and United States bobsleigh teams, was appointed head coach and technical director of the Jamaican team.[10] 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.[16] Ahead of the 2018 Winter Olympic Games 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.[17] In January 2018, the Jamaica women's team qualified for the 2018 Winter Olympic Games.[18] However the men's team missed out on Olympic qualification by one position in the world rankings.[19] 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.[20][21] On 21 February Fenlator-Victorian and Russell finished 19th in the two-woman Olympic bobsleigh event.

Current

The current team:

Position Teammate
Pilot/Brakeman Nimroy Turgott[22]
Driver Shanwayne Stephens[23]
Brakeman Wayne McPherson[24]
Brakewoman Audra Segree[25]
Brakeman Ashley Watson[26]
Brakeman Matthew Wekpe[27]
Pilot/Brakeman Rolando Reid[28]
Brakewoman Shadae Green[29]
Pilot/Brakewoman Carrie Russell[30]
Pilot Jazmine Fenlator-Victorian[31]

2018 Winter Olympic team:

Position Teammate
Driver Jazmine Fenlator-Victorian
Brakewoman Carrie Russell
Skeleton Rider Anthony Watson

Olympics record

Monobob

Olympics Athletes Ranking
2022 Jazmine Fenlator-Victorian 19

Two-man

Olympics Athletes Ranking
1988 Dudley Stokes
Michael White
30
1992 Devon Harris
Ricky McIntosh
35
Dudley Stokes
Chris Stokes
36
1994 Dudley Stokes
Wayne Thomas
DQ
1998 Devon Harris
Michael Morgan
29
2002 Winston Watts
Lascelles Brown
28
2014 Winston Watts
Marvin Dixon
27
2022 Shanwayne Stephens
Nimroy Turgott
30

Two-woman

Olympics Athletes Ranking
2018 Jazmine Fenlator-Victorian
Carrie Russell
19

Four-man

Olympics Athletes Ranking Result
1988 Dudley Stokes
Devon Harris
Michael White
Chris Stokes
DNF[32][33]
1992 Dudley Stokes
Ricky McIntosh
Michael White
Chris Stokes
25[34]
1994 Dudley Stokes
Winston Watts
Chris Stokes
Wayne Thomas
14[35]
1998 Dudley Stokes
Winston Watts
Chris Stokes
Wayne Thomas
21 2:43.76[36]
2022 Shanwayne Stephens
Rolando Reid
Ashley Watson
Matthew Wekpe[37]
28 3:03:42

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.[38] 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.

In 1993, Disney released Cool Runnings, a film loosely based on and inspired by the team's experience in the four-man Bobsleigh at the 1988 Winter Olympics event, at the 1988 Winter Olympic Games.

The 1988 four-man team were referenced in the 1999 Futurama episode Xmas Story.

The 2014 team was the inspiration for "The Bobsled Song" written by Sidney Mills from 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.[39]

See also

References

  1. ^ "Rewind To 1988: The real Cool Runnings". ESPN. 5 February 2014. Retrieved 15 December 2014.
  2. ^ a b "Jamaican bobsleigh team are back in the running for Winter Olympics glory". 1 January 2014. Retrieved 15 December 2014.
  3. ^ Zaccardi, Nick (14 July 2014). "Howard Siler, first Jamaica Bobsled coach, passes away". NBC Sports. Retrieved 17 July 2015.
  4. ^ "Jamaican Bobsleigh Team Debut at Calgary 1988 Winter Olympics". YouTube. 15 November 2012. Archived from the original on 14 December 2021. Retrieved 4 February 2014.
  5. ^ "1988 Winter Olympics / Bobsleigh / Two, Men Results". olympedia.org. Retrieved 20 January 2022.
  6. ^ Todor Krastev (5 February 2012). "Bobsleigh Fours XVI Winter Olympic Games 1994 Albertville (FRA) – 15,16.02". Todor66.com. Retrieved 4 February 2014.
  7. ^ Todor Krastev (5 February 2012). "Bobsleigh Doubles XVI Winter Olympic Games 1992 Albertville (FRA) – 15,16.02". Todor66.com. Retrieved 4 February 2014.
  8. ^ Todor Krastev (3 July 2012). "Bobsleigh Fours Olympic Games 1994 Lilehammer (NOR) - 26,27.02 Hunderfossen". www.todor66.com. Retrieved 27 September 2019.
  9. ^ Gary D'Amato (18 February 2014). "Jamaican bobsled team makes push for respect". Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. Retrieved 19 February 2022.
  10. ^ a b Zaccardi, Nick (14 November 2014). "Jamaica (re)starts women's bobsled team". NBCSports.com. Retrieved 22 January 2015.
  11. ^ Rigby, Caroline (25 December 2014). "Cool Runnings 2: Downhill Daughter - The real-life sequel". bbc.co.uk. Retrieved 22 January 2015.
  12. ^ Alex Hern (20 January 2014). "It's bobsleigh time: Jamaican team raises $25,000 in Dogecoin | Technology". The Guardian. Retrieved 4 February 2014.
  13. ^ "Dogecoin Jamaican Bobsled Team Olympics". Business Insider. 20 January 2014. Retrieved 4 February 2014.
  14. ^ "Olympics: Fans help fund Jamaica bobsleigh Olympic bid". BBC News. 21 January 2014. Retrieved 21 January 2014.
  15. ^ "Help the Jamaican Bobsled team get to Sochi!". Tilt.com. Archived from the original on 26 August 2014. Retrieved 4 February 2014.
  16. ^ Olivero, Antonio (28 January 2017). "Uphill push to Olympics". Adirondack Daily Enterprise. Retrieved 21 January 2018.
  17. ^ Scott, Livingston (13 December 2017). "Bobsleigh Team Has Top Level Support". Jamaica Gleaner. Retrieved 21 January 2018.
  18. ^ Keyser, Hannah (16 January 2018). "Thirty Years After Cool Runnings, Jamaican Women Qualify For Olympic Bobsled". Deadspin. Retrieved 21 January 2018.
  19. ^ Zaccardi, Nick (22 January 2018). "Jamaica misses Olympic men's bobsled by one spot". NBCSports.com. Retrieved 23 January 2018.
  20. ^ Thompson, Anna (14 February 2018). "Winter Olympics: Jamaica's women's bobsleigh coach Sandra Kiriasis quits". bbc.co.uk. Retrieved 25 February 2018.
  21. ^ 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.
  22. ^ "IBSF | Nimroy Turgott". www.ibsf.org. Retrieved 12 December 2021.
  23. ^ "IBSF | Shanwayne Stephens". www.ibsf.org. Retrieved 12 December 2021.
  24. ^ "IBSF | Wayne McPherson". www.ibsf.org. Retrieved 12 December 2021.
  25. ^ "IBSF | Audra Segree". www.ibsf.org. Retrieved 12 December 2021.
  26. ^ "IBSF | Ashley Watson". www.ibsf.org. Retrieved 12 December 2021.
  27. ^ "IBSF | Matthew Wekpe". www.ibsf.org. Retrieved 12 December 2021.
  28. ^ "IBSF | Rolando Reid". www.ibsf.org. Retrieved 12 December 2021.
  29. ^ "IBSF | Shadae Green". www.ibsf.org. Retrieved 12 December 2021.
  30. ^ "IBSF | Carrie Russell". www.ibsf.org. Retrieved 12 December 2021.
  31. ^ "IBSF | Jazmine Fenlator-Victorian". www.ibsf.org. Retrieved 12 December 2021.
  32. ^ "Calgary 1988 four-man men - Olympic bobsleigh". International Olympic Committee. Retrieved 26 November 2019.
  33. ^ "Bobsleigh at the 1988 Calgary Winter Games: Men's Four". Sports-reference.com. Archived from the original on 22 June 2019. Retrieved 10 April 2015.
  34. ^ "Albertville 1992 four-man men - Olympic bobsleigh". International Olympic Committee. Retrieved 26 November 2019.
  35. ^ "Lillehammer 1994 four-man men - Olympic bobsleigh". International Olympic Committee. Retrieved 26 November 2019.
  36. ^ "Nagano 1998 four-man men - Olympic bobsleigh". International Olympic Committee. Retrieved 26 November 2019.
  37. ^ "Winter Olympics 2022: Jamaican bobsled team embraces 'Cool Runnings,' but has sights set on more than movie references". ESPN. Retrieved 19 February 2022.
  38. ^ Kaduk, Kevin (16 February 2014). "The Jamaican bobsled team has an amazing theme song and music video". Yahoo Sports. Retrieved 24 February 2014.
  39. ^ Wilkinson, Dan (21 February 2014). "The Jamaican Bobsled Team Just Released This Olympics Anthem". Vice. Retrieved 24 February 2014.