News / Europe

Jamaican Bobsled Team Vows to Compete at Sochi Games

FILE - Dudley Stokes, captain of the Jamaican bobsled team for the Nagano Winter Olympics (R), smiles back at his team members as they demonstrate the bobsled pushing form during a sending-off reception for the team at a Tokyo hotel, Feb. 4, 1998.
FILE - Dudley Stokes, captain of the Jamaican bobsled team for the Nagano Winter Olympics (R), smiles back at his team members as they demonstrate the bobsled pushing form during a sending-off reception for the team at a Tokyo hotel, Feb. 4, 1998.
Reuters
“We are not just going there to participate.”

Defiant words of Winston Watts, the driver of Jamaica's two-man bobsled team for next month's Sochi Winter Olympics, as the tropical Caribbean nation continues its love affair with icy track for a sixth time in history.

Jamaica's Sochi qualification comes 26 years after their ground-breaking quartet of Devon Harris, Dudley Stokes, Michael White, and Nelson Christian Stokes made a moving debut at the 1988 Calgary Games that inspired a movie, Cool Runnings, five years later.

“Most of those guys who were in the 1988 team were my teammates in 1994 and 1998 and they are still part of the federation,” Watts told Reuters from Jamaica's training based in Wyoming, USA on Wednesday.

The 46-year-old, who competed at the 1994, 1998 and 2002 Games, said the movie left a deep impression on the mind of Jamaica's young generation.

His views were shared by Stokes, a four-time Winter Olympian, and now the general secretary of the Jamaica Bobsleigh Federation.

“I don't think the support for the team, like we've seen over the last three days, would have been sustainable without the ongoing appeal of the movie,” Stokes told Reuters from the Turks and Caicos Islands.

Brakesman Marvin Dixon is the second member of the two-man bobsled team.

Since confirmation of their participation came on Monday, the Jamaicans are busy trying to raise an additional $80,000 to $100,000 to fund their final preparations for Sochi.

Stokes said financial woes may not have vanished altogether but had eased at least.

“We were able to raise over $120,000 via a crowd-funding site ... which meets the immediate need. So we're grateful for that, as it puts us in very good position to get the team prepared for the Sochi Games.”

Looking ahead

Stokes said the federation was still accepting donations and negotiating with sponsors, but as far as Sochi preparations were concerned, “the worst is behind us.”

It also helped that the Jamaica Olympic Association (JOA) agreed to offset the Sochi contingent's travel expenses.

“There is no question in my mind the team would not have qualified... but for the help of the Jamaica Olympic Association,” said Stoke, who will be the chef-de-mission of the contingent, also including crew member Wayne Blackwood and coach Thomas Samuel.

The Jamaicans are procuring better equipment from Germany even though they might not get to practice with it until a pre-Olympic training session in Sochi early next month.

“Equipment says a lot in bobsleighing. Once you have good equipment, anything is possible ... we can be just as competitive as the rest of the world,” said Watts.

For Stokes, a top 10 finish was a realistic target.

“Our best finish during the season has been fifth place, but when we are up against the best at the top of their game, I think if we end up in the top 10, that would be a very good result for us, realistically.

“We're on a path to get a home-grown Jamaican team on the medal podium," said Stokes. "Is it going to be Sochi 2014? I don't know, but what I can tell you is we are in the process, laying the foundation, investing in our young athletes, so that one day, sooner than later, we'll be looking at a Jamaican team on the podium in the Winter Olympics in one of the sliding sports.”

You May Like

Cambodia Seeks Official UN Maps for Vietnam Border

Notice of request comes as 2 countries open border talks Tuesday after a clash last month More

From South Africa to Vietnam, Cyclists Deliver Message Against Rhino Horns

Appalled by poaching they saw firsthand, sisters embark on tour to raise awareness in countries where rhino horn products are in demand More

Uber Wants Johannesburg Police Protection

Request follows recent protests outside ride-hailing service's Johannesburg office More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
New Implant Could Help Restore Movement to Paralyzed Limbsi
|| 0:00:00
...    
🔇
X
Maia Pujara
July 07, 2015 10:01 PM
A half-million people suffer spinal cord injuries each year because of car accidents, serious falls and diseases, according to the World Health Organization. Researchers are now working on a soft but strong spinal cord implant that could one day restore movement in paralyzed individuals. VOA’s Maia Pujara reports.
Video

Video New Implant Could Help Restore Movement to Paralyzed Limbs

A half-million people suffer spinal cord injuries each year because of car accidents, serious falls and diseases, according to the World Health Organization. Researchers are now working on a soft but strong spinal cord implant that could one day restore movement in paralyzed individuals. VOA’s Maia Pujara reports.
Video

Video Getting it Done Beyond a Nuclear Deal

If a nuclear deal is reached between Iran and world powers in Vienna, it will be a highly technical road map to be used to monitor nuclear activity in Iran for years to come to ensure Tehran does not make nuclear weapons. Equally as complicated will be dismantling international sanctions that were originally intended to be ironclad. VOA’s Heather Murdock talks to experts about the key challenges any deal will present.
Video

Video Rice Farmers Frustrated As Drought Grips Thailand

A severe drought in Thailand is limiting the growing season of the country’s important rice crop. Farmers are blaming the government for not doing more to protect a key export. Steve Sandford reports from Chiang Mai, Thailand.
Video

Video Making Music, Fleeing Bombs: New Film on Sudan’s Internal Refugees

In 2012, Sudanese filmmaker Hajooj Kuka went to make a documentary among civil war refugees in Sudan’s Blue Nile and Nuba Mountains region. What he found surprised him: music was helping to save people from bombing raids by their own government. VOA’s Carolyn Weaver has more.
Video

Video 'From This Day Forward' Reveals Difficult Journey of Transgender Parent

In her documentary, "From This Day Forward", filmmaker Sharon Shattuck reveals the personal journey of her transgender father, as he told his family that he always felt he was a woman inside and decided to live as one. VOA’s Penelope Poulou has more.
Video

Video Floodwaters Threaten Iconic American Home

The Farnsworth House in the Midwest State of Illinois is one of the most iconic homes in America. Thousands of tourists visit the site every year. Its location near a river inspired the design of the house, but, as VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, that very location is now threatening the existence of this National Historic Landmark.
Video

Video Olympics Construction Scars Sacred Korean Mountain

Environmentalists in South Korea are protesting a Winter Olympics construction project to build a ski slope through a 500-year-old protected forest. Brian Padden reports that although there is strong national support for hosting the 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Olympics, there are growing public concerns over the costs and possible ecological damage at the revered mountain.
Video

Video Xenophobia Victims in South Africa Flee Violence, Then Return

Many Malawians fled South Africa early this year after xenophobic attacks on African immigrants. But many quickly found life was no better at home and have returned to South Africa – often illegally and without jobs, and facing the tough task of having to start over. Lameck Masina and Anita Powell file from Johannesburg.
Video

Video Family of American Marine Calls for Release From Iranian Prison

As the crowd of journalists covering the Iran talks swells, so too do the opportunities for media coverage.  Hoping to catch the attention of high-level diplomats, the family of American-Iranian marine Amir Hekmati is in Vienna, pleading for his release from an Iranian prison after nearly 4 years.  VOA’s Heather Murdock reports from Vienna.
Video

Video UK Holds Terror Drill as MPs Mull Tunisia Response

After pledging a tough response to last Friday’s terror attack in Tunisia, which came just days before the 10th anniversary of the bomb attacks on London’s transport network, British security services are shifting their focus to overseas counter-terror operations. VOA's Henry Ridgwell has more.
Video

Video Hate Groups Spread Influence Via Internet

Hate groups of various kinds are using the Internet for propaganda and recruitment, and a Jewish human rights organization that monitors these groups, the Simon Wiesenthal Center, says their influence is growing. The messages are different, but the calls to hatred or violence are similar. VOA's Mike O’Sullivan reports.
Video

Video Blind Somali Journalist Defies Odds in Mogadishu

Despite improving security in the last few years, Somalia remains one of the most dangerous countries to be a journalist – even more so for someone who cannot see. Abdulaziz Billow has the story of journalist Abdifatah Hassan Kalgacal, who has been reporting from the Somali capital for the last decade despite being blind.

VOA Blogs