When the Jamaican four-man bobsled staff made their Olympic debut in 1988, the story went on to encourage the a lot adored Disney movie “Cool Runnings” — and the unlikely underdogs from Jamaica helped familiarize the distinctive sport for the lots.
And Saturday, for the primary time for the reason that 1998 Winter Games, Jamaica has a four-man bobsled staff within the Olympics. Their sled will likely be piloted by Shanwayne Stephens, with Rolando Reid, Ashley Watson and Matthew Wekpe because the push athletes.
“I feel it’s all people’s dream to symbolize their nation, and we’re right here doing it, dwelling it and respiratory it,” Stephens stated earlier this week after competing within the two-man bobsled occasion.
Jamaica is one in every of 28 groups competing within the four-man bobsled competitors on Saturday. The highest groups transfer ahead to the finals on Sunday.
In some methods, the Jamaican staff is leaning in to the film’s narrative. For one, Wekpe carries a plastic egg with him, as did the film’s fictional brakeman, Sanka Coffie.
However in addition they need to inform their very own story. The truth is, the staff recorded a song to unfold its message: “We’re not only a film,” the lyrics start.
In an interview on the Olympics website, Stephens stated that, “We need to present we’re truly fierce opponents, and we’re on the market to placed on a extremely good efficiency on the Video games.”
Reid is from Jamaica and ran monitor at Morgan State College, a traditionally Black school in Maryland. His journey in bobsledding started in 2019, after his brother expressed curiosity within the sport.
To assist put together for the Video games, Reid returned to his alma mater to coach with the monitor staff. In an interview with The Baltimore Sun, the previous monitor and discipline star stated he solely began studying run on ice in September.
Reid isn’t the one teammate new to the game. Wekpe, who has represented Jamaica on the international stage in rugby, started coaching with the bobsled staff only one yr in the past, amid the coronavirus pandemic.
Stephens, the pilot, and Watson, one of many pushers, deliver essentially the most expertise to the Jamaican staff. Watson, who’s from Peterborough, England, first began sledding in 2013, however took a hiatus earlier than lately returning to the game. Stephens, who was born in Jamaica however grew up in Britain, started sledding in 2015 after he joined the Royal Air Power.
Stephens made headlines early within the pandemic when it was revealed that his coaching program throughout lockdown concerned pushing his fiancé’s car around Peterborough. (In recounting his routine to Queen Elizabeth II during a video call, Stephens elicited a chuckle from Her Majesty, who added, “Effectively, I suppose that’s one strategy to prepare.”)
The historic significance of Jamaica’s 2022 bobsledding story doesn’t finish there. The nation additionally has a staff within the two-man bobsled occasion and a feminine athlete within the monobob competitors, a person sledding occasion that made its Olympic debut, making this the first time the nation has certified for 3 bobsledding occasions in a single Olympics.