It’s Official: Jamaica Bobsled Team Headed to Sochi

Cool Runnings fans rejoice. Jamaica has an Olympic bobsled team again.

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Robert Laberge / Getty Images

15 Feb 2002: The Jamaica 1 team of Winston Alexander Watt and Lascelles Oneil Brown in action during training for the Men's 2-Man Bobsleigh at the Utah Olympic Park in Park City during the Salt Lake City Winter Olympic Games in Park City, Utah

Driver Winston Watts officially confirmed Monday that Jamaica has qualified for the bobsled event at Sochi 2014, the BBC reports. Watts and brakeman Marvin Dixon will end the Jamaica bobsled team’s 12-year-absence from the Winter Olympics next month when they compete in the 2014 games.

“It means the world to me,” Watts, 46, told the BBC. “I could not fall asleep last night just waiting to hear the news. I had a strong feeling we would get in but you never know.”

Jamaica first competed in the bobsled competition in the 1988 Calgary games, a story which inspired the 1993 movie Cool Runnings. They last competed in the 2002 Salt Lake City Games as a two-person team, with Watts as the driver and Lascelles Brown—now a member of Canada’s national team—as brakeman. They placed 28th.

Olympic organizers tweeted on Saturday that the bobsled team had made it in, but the International Bobsleigh & Skeleton Federation, the sport’s governing body, did not confirm the news until Monday.

But just because Jamaica has qualified doesn’t mean they will get to race. The team is still struggling to raise funds for its Olympic dream. Watts, who has officially been retired from bobsledding for over a decade, has already spent over $150,000 of his own money to return to the Games, and says he needs $80,000 more to cover travel and equipment expenses.

An online fundraising campaign has already raised $22,000, while the Jamaican Bobsleigh Federation has also launched its own fundraiser.

[BBC]


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