Jamaican Bobsled

Jamaica, You’ve Got A Bobsled Team For The Beijing Olympics!

The island nation of Jamaica has a four-man bobsled team in the Olympics. It’s the first time the Carrabien nation has had one in 24 years. In a final bid, Jamaica managed to grab the last spot in the 28-sled field in qualification for the Beijing games.

Based on the global results, Jamaica managed to qualify in three different bobsled events for the first time. They also earned the last spot in two-man and a place in the new event of women’s mono bob.

Jamaica’s Bobsled Team For The Olympics Will Look To Finish at the Podium

The country did miss out on a two-woman spot in a tiebreaker. But there is a possibility of Jamaica getting in if one qualified nation gives up their spot. As it stands, the country has yet to announce its Olympic roster, but Shanwayne Stephens will be piloting the four-man sled. Stephens has been joined by Rolando Reid, Matthew Wekpe, and Ashley Watson in all of the four-man races this season. They have a top finish of fifth on the lower-level North American Cup. 

In 2020, Stephens who is a lance corporal in the Royal Air Force made headlines in Great Britain. The context was her unusual off-ice training during the pandemic- pushing a Mini Cooper in Peterborough[2]. The Jamaican didn’t forget to mention it to Queen Elizabeth II on a video chat. To which the Queen replied, “Well I suppose that’s one way to train.”

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This will be the first Olympic Games since the death of Sam Clayton, the first bobsled driver from Jamaica. The bobsled team from the Caribbean did rise to fame with its debut in the Winter games at the 1988 Calgary Olympics. But they couldn’t secure a podium finish. This was the inspiration behind the 1993 Disney movie ‘Cool Runnings’. At least one sled team from Jamaica has always competed in the Olympics stretching from 1988 to 2002. Then again in 2014, with the best finish being 14th place.

The previous occasion when Jamaica had a four-man sled team was at the Nagano Games. That is all the way back in 1998. This was, interestingly, also the last time that the Olympic team had a link to the 1998 quarter- brothers Chris and Dudley Stokes. As of now, Chris is the President of Jamaica’s bobsled federation.  A women’s sled team from Jamaica went on to debut at the Games in 2018, driven by 2014 US Champion Jazmine Fenlator-Victoria, whose father is of Jamaican origin. The men’s sled team from the country missed out for PyeongChang by a single spot in the world rankings. 

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Jamaica Isn’t The Only One Making History

Jamaica will also produce a skier at the Winter Olympics for just the second time in its history, and for the first time in Alpine skiing. One of the competitors who would be competing from Jamaica is Benjamin Alexander, a former DJ who was raised in Great Britain. This DJ-turned-Olympian managed to qualify in a quota spot for the nation in giant slalom. Incidentally, the Winter Olympics will have quite a few non-traditional winter sports nations sending in their competitors for the first time. This includes Brazil sending its first mogul’s skier ever, and Haiti its first Winter Olympian. 

Several other nations like Mexico (first figure skater since 1992), and Nigeria (first male cross-country skier), will join the Winter Olympics. One can only hope that this would lead to more countries bringing out their talents to such prestigious events setting such inspiring examples.

Keep Reading: An Olympian Sold Her Silver Medal To Fund A Boy’s Surgery. The Buyer Let Her Keep It

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Sources

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  1. Jamaica to compete in 4-man bobsled at Olympics for 1st time in over 20 years.” NBC News. Scott Stump. January 19, 2022.
  2. Jamaica, you have a bobsled team for the Beijing Olympics! (and an Alpine skier)NBC Sports. OlympicTalk. January 17, 2022.
Mayukh Saha
Freelance Writer
Mayukh is a Content Marketer and Social Media Manager with over 5 years of experience in the industry. Mayukh believes in the power of content; how it can positively impact lives, scale businesses and touch people. In his spare time Mayukh likes to read about latest tech trends and loves to travel in the nature. You can reach him at [email protected]
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