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

Philippines, Muslim Rebels Try to Salvage Peace Pact

Peace process faces major setback after botched military operation to find terrorists results in bloody gunbattle between government forces, Moro Islamic Liberation Front fighters More

Republicans Expect Long, Expensive Presidential Battle

Political strategist says eventual winner will be one who can put together strongest coalition of various conservative groups that make up Republican Party More

Video New Wheelchair Is Easier to Use, Increases Mobility

Engineers have come up with a lever-operated design that makes use of easily accessible bicycle technology 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.
Liberia's Almost Last Ebola Patient Grateful but Still Grievingi
X
Benno Muchler
March 26, 2015 3:41 PM
Beatrice Yardolo was to make history as Liberia’s last Ebola patient. Liberians recently started counting down 42 days, the period that has to go by without a single new infection until the World Health Organization can declare a country Ebola-free. That countdown stopped on March 20 when there was another new case of Ebola, making Yardolo’s story a reminder that Ebola is far from over. Benno Muchler reports from Monrovia.
Video

Video Liberia's Almost Last Ebola Patient Grateful but Still Grieving

Beatrice Yardolo was to make history as Liberia’s last Ebola patient. Liberians recently started counting down 42 days, the period that has to go by without a single new infection until the World Health Organization can declare a country Ebola-free. That countdown stopped on March 20 when there was another new case of Ebola, making Yardolo’s story a reminder that Ebola is far from over. Benno Muchler reports from Monrovia.
Video

Video Cambodian Land Grabs Threaten Traditional Communities

Indigenous communities in Cambodia's Ratanakiri province say the government’s economic land concession policy is taking away their land and traditional way of life, making many fear that their identity will soon be lost. Local authorities, though, have denied this is the case. VOA's Say Mony went to investigate and filed this report, narrated by Colin Lovett.
Video

Video US, South Korea Conduct Joint Military Exercises

The Eighth U.S. Army Division and the Eighth Republic of Korea Mechanized Infantry Division put on a well orchestrated show of force for the media this week during their joint military training exercises in South Korea. VOA’s Seoul correspondent Brian Padden was there and reports the soldiers were well disciplined both in conducting a complex live fire exercise and in staying on message with the press.
Video

Video Space Program Status Disappoints 'Last Man on the Moon'

One of the films that drew big crowds last week at the annual South by Southwest festival in Austin, Texas, tells the story of the last human being to stand on the moon, U.S. astronaut Eugene Cernan. It has been 42 years since Cernan returned from the moon and he laments that no one else has gone there since. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports.
Video

Video Young Filmmakers Shine Spotlight on Giving Back

A group of student filmmakers from across the United States joined President Barack Obama at the White House this month for the second annual White House Student Film Festival. Fifteen short films were officially selected from more than 1,500 entries by students aged 6 through 18. The filmmakers and their families then joined the president and a group of celebrities for a screening of their films. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
Video

Video VOA Exclusive: Interview with Afghan President Ashraf Ghani

Afghan President Ashraf Ghani, during his first visit as president to Washington, gave a one-on-one interview with VOA Afghan Service reporter Said Suleiman Ashna, about his request for a change in U.S. troop levels, the threat from the Islamic State, and repairing relations with the United States and Pakistan. The interview was held at Blair House, late Sunday, in Pashto.
Video

Video California Science Center Tells Story of Dead Sea Scrolls

The ancient manuscripts were uncovered in the mid-20th century, and they are still yielding clues about life and religious beliefs in ancient Israel. As VOA's Mike O'Sullivan reports, an exhibit in Los Angeles shows how modern science is bringing the history of these ancient documents to life.
Video

Video Angelina Jolie Takes Another Bold Step

Hollywood actress and filmmaker Angelina Jolie has revealed she had her ovaries and fallopian tubes removed to lower her odds of getting cancer. Doctors say the huge publicity over her decision will help raise awareness about the importance of cancer screening. VOA’s George Putic has more

All About America

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More