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

Report: $60 Billion Leaves Africa Illegally Each Year

Report by a joint UN and African Union panel says African countries need to take concrete measures to stop billions of dollars from illegally being moved out of continent each year More

Video Spy Murder Probe Likely to Further Strain British-Russian Relations

Some analysts say Russian Tu-95 bombers were flying near British airspace to warn Britain about an inquest into a murdered Russian spy More

Mugabe Defends Image Amid Controversy at Close of AU Summit

He rejects concerns about how the West might perceive his leadership, saying he's focused on African development 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.
Spy Murder Probe Likely to Further Strain British-Russian Relationsi
X
Henry Ridgwell
January 31, 2015 10:50 PM
Relations between Russia and the West are set to become even more strained amid an inquiry in London into the murder of a former Russian spy. Lawyers at the inquiry accuse Russian President Vladimir Putin of directing a "mafia state." Meanwhile, Royal Air Force fighters intercepted Russian bombers close to British airspace this week, prompting authorities to summon Moscow’s ambassador. Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video Spy Murder Probe Likely to Further Strain British-Russian Relations

Relations between Russia and the West are set to become even more strained amid an inquiry in London into the murder of a former Russian spy. Lawyers at the inquiry accuse Russian President Vladimir Putin of directing a "mafia state." Meanwhile, Royal Air Force fighters intercepted Russian bombers close to British airspace this week, prompting authorities to summon Moscow’s ambassador. Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video Ukrainian Neighborhood Divided Over Conflict

People in eastern Ukraine’s Donetsk and Luhansk districts find themselves squarely in the path of advancing Russian-backed rebels, who want to take back the territory they held at the beginning of the conflict last year. Many local residents are afraid, but others would welcome the change, even when a rebel shell lands in their neighborhood. From the Luhansk district, 15 kilometers from where the Ukrainian government marks the front line, VOA’s Al Pessin reports.
Video

Video Threat of Creeping Lava Has Hawaiians on Edge

Residents of the small town of Pahoa on the Big Island of Hawaii face an advancing threat from the Kilauea volcano. Local residents are keeping a watchful eye on creeping lava. Mike O’Sullivan reports.
Video

Video Jefferson's Library Continues to Impress, 200 Years Later

Two hundred years after the U.S. Congress purchased a huge collection of books belonging to former President Thomas Jefferson, it remains one of America’s greatest literal treasures and has become the centerpiece of Washington’s Library of Congress. VOA’s Deborah Block reports.
Video

Video Egypt's Suez Canal Dreams Tempered by Continued Unrest

Egypt plans to expand the Suez Canal, raising hopes that the end of its economic crisis may be in sight. But some analysts say they expect the project may cost too much and take too long to make life better for everyday Egyptians. VOA's Heather Murdock reports.
Video

Video Pro-Kremlin Youth Group Creatively Promotes 'Patriotic' Propaganda

As Russia's President Vladimir Putin faces international pressure over Ukraine and a failing economy, unofficial domestic groups are rallying to his support. One such youth organization, CET, or Network, uses creative multimedia to appeal to Russia's urban youth with patriotic propaganda. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports.
Video

Video Filmmakers Produce Hand-Painted Documentary on Van Gogh

The troubled life of the famous 19th century Dutch painter Vincent van Gogh has been told through many books and films, but never in the way a group of filmmakers now intends to do. "Loving Vincent " will be the first ever feature-length film made of animated hand-painted images, done in the style of the late artist. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Issues or Ethnicity? Question Divides Nigeria

As Nigeria goes to the polls next month, many expect the two top presidential contenders to gain much of their support from constituencies organized along ethnic or religious lines. But are faith and regional blocs really what political power in Nigeria is about? Chris Stein reports.
Video

Video Rock-Consuming Organisms Alter Views of Life Processes

Scientists thought they knew much about how life works, until a discovery more than two decades ago challenged conventional beliefs. Scientists found that there are organisms that breathe rocks. And it is only recently that the scientific community is accepting that there are organisms that could get energy out of rocks. Correspondent Elizabeth Lee reports.
Video

Video Paris Attacks Highlight Global Weapons Black Market

As law enforcement officials piece together how the Paris and Belgian terror cells carried out their recent attacks, questions are being asked about how they obtained military grade assault weapons - which are illegal in the European Union. As VOA's Jeff Swicord reports, experts say there is a very active worldwide black market for these weapons, and criminals and terrorists are buying.
Video

Video Activists Accuse China of Targeting Religious Freedom

The U.S.-based Chinese religious rights group ChinaAid says 2014 was the worst year for religious freedom in China since the end of the Cultural Revolution. As Ye Fan reports, activists say Beijing has been tightening religious controls ever since Chinese leader Xi Jinping came to office. Hu Wei narrates.
Video

Video Theologians Cast Doubt on Morality of Drone Strikes

In 2006, stirred by photos of U.S. soldiers mistreating Iraqi prisoners, a group of American faith leaders and academics launched the National Religious Campaign Against Torture. It played an important role in getting Congress to investigate, and the president to ban, torture. VOA's Jerome Socolovsky reports.

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

All About America

AppleAndroid