It’s 34 years since the four-man Jamaican bobsled team made its Olympic debut. It’s one of the most evocative Winter Olympic stories — immortalized in the “Cool Runnings” film — as Jamaica’s bobsled team at Beijing 2022 acknowledged.
“We’re absolutely honored that we were the ones to have brought Jamaica (4-man) bobsleigh back at the Olympics after 24 years,” said Shanwayne Stephens on Saturday, referring to the last time Jamaica competed in the bobsled at a Winter Games at Nagano.
“And it’s fantastic to just represent Jamaica, Jamaica bobsledders and every single ‘Cool Runnings’ fan out there,” Shanwayne Stephens said on Saturday.
The team made a nod to the legendary Disney movie — in the form of an egg reference.
“I do have a lucky egg. It is a tribute to the film,” Matthew Wekpe said, referencing the fictional “Cool Runnings” brakeman Sanka, who did the same.
“I only started to do bobsleigh 14 months ago. Before my first race, me and Shan (Stephens) came up with the idea that it would be quite cool to bring back a lucky egg.
“We left the apartment at my first race in Austria and found this, so we declared that the egg.”
Movie references aside, the team want people to know they are dead serious about the sport.
Although they finished last after two heats on Saturday, the completed their runs and will race again on Sunday as they set their sights on building up Jamaica’s bobsled program.
“A big part of us being here is just to show people that you can achieve anything that you want to achieve if you just put your mind to it and go out there and do it,” Stephens added.
Winning a medal isn’t there for us, not yet, not right now, but that doesn’t mean it’s not going to be. Our plan is to build on this program moving forward, getting more and more Jamaican athletes involved in the sport,” he said.
“If we can qualify for this Games having met for the first time in September last year, imagine what we can do the next four years with a proper program and proper funding.”
For the first time in Olympic history, the island nation qualified in three bobsled events — the two-man bobsled, the women’s monobob and the four-man bobsled.