In a classic case of life mimicking art that mimics life, Jamaica will send a four-man bobsled team to the Winter Olympics for the first time in almost 25 years, inspiring countless millennials to watch again Cool Runnings in preparation.
Jamaica took last place in the 28-sled field qualifies for the Beijing Games, which qualifies for the first time in the 21st century. Although the official series has not yet been announced, Shanwayne Stephens, a country corporal in the Royal Air Force, has been guaranteed to be the team’s pilot for the Winter Olympics. Stephens was interviewed on Good morning america with teammate Nimroy Turgott to discuss their excitement about earning a spot in Beijing.
“We have put in a lot of hard work over the last four years to achieve what we have achieved,” Stephens said.
The first time Jamaica ever competed in the Winter Olympics was in 1988 when the four-man bobsled team unexpectedly qualified, which was the inspiration for the classic 1993 Disney movie Cool Runnings. The movie follows the story of the Jamaican team that earned a place in the Olympics despite limited experience with the sport.
Since then, the tropical archipelago has regularly competed in the two-man bobsleigh, which penetrates to every Winter Olympics except in 2006. But this is the first time since 1998 that the nation has qualified for the four-man event, so it means a lot to the country as a whole.
Along with a spot in the four-man bobsled, Jamaica will compete in three bobsled events for the first time ever. They qualified in the two-man bobsleigh and in the women’s monobob, which is a new Olympic sport. Benjamin Alexander also made history by becoming the first Jamaican skier to qualify for giant slalom, making him the second skier ever to represent Jamaica at the Olympics.