The ice is about to get hotter than a beef patty because the Jamaican bobsleigh team is back.
For the first time ever, Jamaica has qualified for three-bobsled events in the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics. Jamaica will be representing the men’s two-man and four-man, along with the woman’s monobob. The men’s four man team will be the country’s first Olympic team in 24 years. The women’s two-woman team are unfortunately in limbo considering they have lost in a tie-breaker.
On the other hand, the Jamaican two-woman team is first in line to head to Beijing if any of the qualified nations were to dropout. Considering COVID-19’s track record for the past three years and its 387 record cases at the 2021 Tokyo Summer Olympic Games, that is a strong possibility.
Jamaica has sent out several men’s two-man teams in the four-man’s absence from Olympic competition. The Jamaican bobsleigh and skeleton programs have had such a tough, but miraculous history. Of course the story started with the iconic 1988 men’s four-man bobsled team, who’s story was famously re-told with Disney’s Cool Runnings. In the time since, there have been an underfunded series of events that delays the progress of the Jamaica’s reluctant sport.
After several mediocre finishes at the Olympics, Jamaica’s team didn’t have any funding for the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympic Games. It wasn’t until $30,000 in donations from Dogecoin users flooded the team’s crowdfunding account. That money almost surpassed the minimum goal of $40,000. That year the team ended up with $129,687 right before the games, and it set Jamaica up with another organization to help the future. The Jamaica Bobsleigh & Skeleton Federation was born in 2014 and finally the Caribbean nation had some official grounding on an icy path.
Team Jamaica officialy named the members of the team, the team’s bobsled veteran Shanwayne Stephens is definitely involved. The men’s four-man team will consist of Shanwayne Stephens, Rolando Reid, Ashley Watson and Matthew Wekpe. They have competed and trained with each other throughout their preliminary races. The men have been seen training in the streets of Peterborough, England. Stephens told Reuters that due to gyms being closed, during 2020’s COVID-19 lockdowns, they have been noticed pushing a mini cooper down the streets.
“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,” he said.
Women’s bobsled veteran Jazmine Fenlator-Victorian confirmed on her Instagram that she is going to this year’s Winter Olympic games. She will be competing in the women’s monobob event. Her younger sister Angelica lost her life days after Christmas, and Jazmine is still finding the strength to continue in her final Olympics.
The highest finish for any Jamaican bobsled or skeleton team has been 14th.