After 24 years of absense, Jamaica competed in the four-man bobsleigh event at the Beijing Olympics.
While the team finished 28th in the Winter Olympics, one of the team members, Ashley Watson had said last Saturday that the point wasn’t only the results but also the fact that they were continuing the Cool Runnings legacy.
Though Jamaica has had other bobsleigh teams, there hasn’t been a four-man bobsleigh team since the 1998 Winter Olympics.
The 2022 team consists of pilot Shanwayne Stephens, Ashley Watson, Rolando Reid and Matthew Wekpe who joined in 2020. They completed their third run in 1:01:23 minutes which was better than their second run of 1:01:39. However, that was not enough for them to make the top 20. Making the top 20 would’ve allowed them to compete in the fourth and final round. The total time the team accumulated is 3:03:42 minutes.
Pilot Shanwayne had told Channel 7 on Saturday “Our journey is trying to inspire everybody in the world to just go out there, try something new.” He expressed that he and his team never imagined being bobsledders, but the experience, in Watson’s words, was “phenomenal”.
Stephens mentioned that he and his team had faced many difficulties over the last four years pre-pandemic and post-pandemic.
Similarly to Cool Runnings, Matthew Wekpe has a lucky egg that he carries around like just like Sanka Coffie does in the movie.
The team revealed that they made major sacrifices to be where they were, such as Reid quitting his teaching job, which he does not regret, and Watson closing down his business of being a qualified sports therapist and physio.
The team worked out in backyard gyms and pushed cars, mimicking the conditions of bobsleigh. Even though things got “pretty tough”, they were determined to push through and achieve their goals.
Subsequently, Reid took the time to thank New Zealand-Australian high-performance physio, Jo Brown, for standing by them all season. Jo Brown first worked with Jamaican athletes at the Commonwealth Games back in 2018.