For the first time in more than 20 years, the tropical nation of Jamaica will have a team competing in the four-man bobsled event at the Winter Olympics.
A fan page dedicated to the island’s national athletics teams made the exciting announcement on Twitter.
“Breaking: Jamaica, we have a bobsled team heading to Beijing!” Team Jamaica said in a Jan. 17 post. The message went onto say that the team’s appearance “will be fire on ice.”
JAMAICA, WE HAVE A BOBSLED TEAM HEADING TO BEIJING! 📣
It will be fire on ice as #TeamJamaica 🇯🇲 secured their spot at the 2022 Beijing #WinterOlympics. This will be the 1st time JAM has qualified in 3 Olympic bobsled events: four-man, two-man and women’s monobob pic.twitter.com/hRd5h7lDlG
— Team Jamaica (@TeamJA876) January 17, 2022
The page also shared the news that the country qualified for three bobsled events at the 2022 Games, including the four-man, two-man and women’s monobob, which is a new event.
The four-man Jamaican bobsled team took the final slot available in the 28-team field for the Beijing Winter Olympics based on its results in international competition this year, according to NBC News. In addition to the three teams it has already qualified for bobsledding events, Jamaica also secured an alternate spot for the two-woman bobsled event.
Sports fans — and even those who know nothing about the Winter Games — might remember the sensation caused by the 1988 Jamaican bobsled team at the Calgary Games, which was the first team from that beach-covered country to qualify for any event at the Winter Olympics. Unfortunately, the four-man team did not complete its race after crashing on the course. However, the team’s inspiring journey did inspire Disney to produce the 1993 film, “Cool Runnings.”
Jamaica last competed in the four-man bobsled event at the 1998 Nagano Games in Japan. In total, the country has competed at the Winter Olympics eight times but has yet to reach the podium.
Training for the Winter Olympics bobsled competition is challenging under any circumstances. But, the combination of the COVID-19 pandemic and living on a tropical island in the Caribbean Sea offer a different level of obstacles to overcome.
Two of the qualifying team members (and likely Olympic team representatives), Shanwayne Stephens and Nimroy Turgott, figured out they could push a Mini Cooper around to keep in shape while they were staying in England.
“We had to come up with our own ways of replicating the sort of pushing we need to do. So that’s why we thought: why not go out and push the car?” Stephens told Reuters. “We do get some funny looks. We’ve had people run over, thinking the car’s broken down, trying to help us bump-start the car. When we tell them we’re the Jamaica bobsleigh team, the direction is totally different, and they’re very excited.”
Sounds like a scene that would be perfect for a “Cool Runnings” sequel based on this year’s squad!