News, Culture & Society

Jamaica’s bobsleigh team qualify for the Olympics for the first time in 24 years

‘It’ll be fire on ice!’ Echoes of Cool Runnings as Jamaica’s bobsleigh team qualify for the Olympics for the first time in 24 years

  • Jamaica will compete in three different bobsleigh events at the Winter Olympics
  • Country is represented in four-man, two-man and women’s monobob in Beijing
  • This will be the first time Jamaica has qualified in three Olympic bobsled events 
  • Lance Corporal Shanwayne Stephens is expected to lead the four-man sled


Jamaica’s bobsleigh team have qualified for the Beijing Winter Olympics next month – making it the first time in 24 years the country’s four-man team will participate.

The much-anticipated games will mark the first time that Jamaica has qualified for three different bobsleigh events, securing their place in the four-man, two-man sled and women’s monobob categories. 

Their four-man team took the final spot in the 28-sled field in qualification, which is the first time since 1998 that the event will have Jamaican representation in the category.  

However, they missed out on a two-woman place after losing a tiebreaker – but could still make it to China as first alternate if one of the qualified nations give up a spot. 

Jamaica’s bobsleigh team have qualified for the Beijing Winter Olympics next month – making it the first time in 24 years the country’s four-man team will participate

The much-anticipated games will mark the first time that Jamaica has qualified for three different bobsleigh events, securing their place in the four-man, two-man sled and women’s monobob categories

The much-anticipated games will mark the first time that Jamaica has qualified for three different bobsleigh events, securing their place in the four-man, two-man sled and women’s monobob categories

The last time Jamaica had a four-man sled was at the 1998 Nagano Games, which they failed to finish and provided the storyline for the 1993 Disney film Cool Runnings (pictured)

The last time Jamaica had a four-man sled was at the 1998 Nagano Games, which they failed to finish and provided the storyline for the 1993 Disney film Cool Runnings (pictured)

Confirming the news on Twitter, the Team Jamaica account paid homage to the 1993 Disney film Cool Runnings – which was inspired by the country’s Olympic debut at the 1988 Calgary Winter Games – with the quote ‘It will be fire on ice’.

The account wrote: ‘Jamaica, we have a bobsled team heading to Beijing! 

‘It will be fire on ice as #TeamJamaica secured their spot at the 2022 Beijing #WinterOlympics. 

‘This will be the first time Jamaica has qualified in three Olympic bobsled events. These events are the four-man, two-man and women’s monobob.’

This comes as Beijing 2022 confirmed there will be no general sale of tickets due to concerns over Covid.

Confirming the news on Twitter, the Team Jamaica account paid homage to the 1993 Disney film Cool Runnings - which was inspired by the country's Olympic debut at the 1988 Calgary Winter Games - with the quote 'It will be fire on ice'

Confirming the news on Twitter, the Team Jamaica account paid homage to the 1993 Disney film Cool Runnings – which was inspired by the country’s Olympic debut at the 1988 Calgary Winter Games – with the quote ‘It will be fire on ice’

There instead are plans for an ‘adapted programme that will invite groups of spectators to be present on site during the Games’, albeit in what are expected to be vastly reduced numbers. The sale of tickets to foreign-based spectators had already been ruled out.

The last time Jamaica had a four-man sled spot was at the 1998 Nagano Games,  which they failed to finish, and included teammate brothers Chris and Dudley Stokes.

Chris – who provided inspiration for the Disney film with his book Cool Runnings and Beyond about his team’s Olympic competition – is now the president of Jamaica’s Bobsled Federation. 

Shanwayne Stephens is expected to pilot the four-man sled and could be joined by Rolando Reid, Ashley Watson and Matthew Wekpe, who have been push athletes in all of Stephens’ four-man races this season.

The RAF gunner went viral over lockdown and even made the Queen laugh when he shared his pandemic training regime of pushing a Mini Cooper up and down through the streets of Peterborough in 2020.

Corporal Shanwayne Stephens told the Queen how he had resorted to pushing a car up and down the streets in an effort to keep fit and train during lockdown. 

The Queen spoke to Jamaica-born Lance Corporal Stephens (pictured), who joined RAF in 2011 and is based at RAF Northolt, and is trained in forced protection with specialisation as a sniper

The Queen spoke to Jamaica-born Lance Corporal Stephens (pictured), who joined RAF in 2011 and is based at RAF Northolt, and is trained in forced protection with specialisation as a sniper

Some residents of Peterborough offered their help to Shanwayne Stephens and Nimroy Turgott as they push a Mini down the road as practice for bobsleighing during lockdown

Some residents of Peterborough offered their help to Shanwayne Stephens and Nimroy Turgott as they push a Mini down the road as practice for bobsleighing during lockdown

The monarch who was surprised to hear of the unusual method gave a chuckle and remarked ‘Oh’.

Her majesty laughed and added: ‘Well I suppose that’s one way to train.’

Her conversation with Lance Corporal Stephens came as the Queen held a video call from Windsor Castle with members of the Armed Forces based across the globe.

The Queen had replied ‘Gosh. Sounds a very dangerous job’ when Lance Corporal Stephens told her he was the pilot of the Jamaican bobsleig

She asked: ‘So how do you train?’, prompting him to tell her about his unorthodox methods.

Lance Corporal Stephens, of the Queen’s Colour Squadron, was one of three military personnel who spoke to the monarch last week as she heard about the work they were carrying out at home and overseas as the coronavirus crisis continues.

The Queen, whose sign-in name on the screen was ‘Windsor UK’, told them: ‘Everybody’s been extremely busy with the pandemic and doing a wonderful job.’   

***
Read more at DailyMail.co.uk