The four-man Jamaica bobsleigh team has qualified for the 2022 Winter Olympics.
They will take part in the bobsleigh discipline for the fifth occasion, and for the first time in 24 years.
Many minds will no doubt immediately turn to the iconic 1993 Disney film, ‘Cool Runnings‘. It sees four athletes from Jamaica, led by short-distance runner Derice Bannock, become bobsledders. They meet a former bobsled medallist, played by John Candy. After plenty of convincing, he agrees to coach the little-fancied team to potential success.
What follows is a heartwarming story of ups and downs, which eventually leads to the Jamaica bobsleigh team qualifying for the 1988 Winter Olympics in Calgary, Canada. It was primarily based on a real-life story. Jamaica did make it to the Games in the same year, but they didn’t officially finish.
Since then, Jamaica have only made the four-man event on three more occasions. That, however, has now changed.
Jamaica team qualifies for four-man bobsleigh event
A total of 34 years on from that memorable moment that eventually transcended sport and popular culture, the four-man bobsleigh team will again be competing in the Winter Olympics – for a fifth time.
The island country has had some recent success in the two-man event. They have qualified on five occasions. A women’s team made its debut in 2018. They failed to qualify this time around, but the four-man group will be joined by the women’s monobob and men’s two-man teams.
The four-man outfit will go up against 27 other teams when the event begins in Beijing next month. Germany and Canada have both entered three sleds, whilst China, South Korea and United States are amongst those that have entered two.
Jamaica have a somewhat mixed record at the Games when it comes to the four-man event. In 1988, they did not finish the event after crashing out on the third and final day. Four years later, they came back and finished 25th. In 1994, they finished in their highest position of 11th, before ending up in 21st in their most recent appearance in 1998.
Dudley Stokes, now 59 years of age, is the only man to compete in all four of the above events.
All eyes will be on the team to see whether they can go one better than in 1994 – and there’s no doubt we’ll hear plenty of film references from commentary teams when they go out on the ice.
Featured Image Credit: Getty