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The Jamaican National bobsled team has qualified for the Olympics for the first time in 24 years, reminiscent of the 1993 movie ‘Cool Runnings’. Jamaica grabbed the final spot in the 28-sled field in qualification for the Beijing Games, based on international results this season.
Ultimately, Jamaica qualified in three Olympic bobsled events for the first time, also earning the last spot in two-man and a place in the new Olympic event of women’s monobob. It missed a two-woman spot on a tiebreaker but can get in as first alternate if one qualified nation gives up a spot.
Jamaica hasn’t announced its Olympic roster yet, but Shanwayne Stephens is expected to pilot the four-man sled. Rolando Reid, Ashley Watson and Matthew Wekpe have been push athletes in all of Stephens’ four-man races this season, with a top finish of fifth on the lower-level North American Cup.
Jamaican skier making history
Jamaican bobsled rose to fame with its Olympic debut at the 1988 Calgary Winter Games, its four-man team that failed to finish inspired the 1993 Disney film, ‘Cool Runnings.’ At least one Jamaican men’s sled competed in every Olympics from 1988 through 2002, then again in 2014, with a best finish of 14th.
The Opening ceremony for the Beijing Olympics is set for Friday, Feb. 4.
Though it will be a scaled-down Olympics due to the coronavirus pandemic, with no public tickets sold for events, it will mark a triumphant return for Jamaica’s bobsled team.