Jamaican bobsled team committed to overcoming challenges in Beijing

Jamaica’s bobsled team is determined to overcome financial issues and challenges from the COVID-19 pandemic as its four-man lineup returns to the Winter Games for the first time in 24 years.

Jamaica’s bobsled teams have been a welcome sight at the Winter Olympics ever since the nation, known more for its tropical climate, beat the odds to qualify for the 1988 Calgary Olympics, a feat that inspired the feel-good Disney film “Cool Runnings.”

But the team has faced difficulties in its preparation for the Feb. 4 to 20 Beijing Games due to travel restrictions, with the members training together for the first time in September.

“We’re a bunch of guys who literally came together for the first time on the 18th of September, not by our own fault but the COVID situation and travel restrictions,” bobsled pilot Shanwayne Stevens said after touching down in Beijing on Saturday.

“To achieve what we’ve achieved in such a short period of time is a testament to the hard work everybody has put in outside of being together. Because we knew that what we wanted to do was achieve one goal and everybody put in the work so that when we came together, it was a lot easier for us to sort of gel together and then perform really well.”

The team is looking to make amends after failing to qualify for the Pyeongchang Games by one spot in the world rankings.

“The pandemic is there, but there’s more than just the pandemic, that are financial struggles the team have faced, but the goal has just been to find a way to survive,” brakeman Rolando Reid said.

“We have an incredible bunch of guys that just know the goal and the goal is to get to the Games, perform to the best of our abilities and be good ambassadors of our country.”

Jamaica will also compete in the two-man bobsled and the women’s monobob, making it the first time in Olympic history the country has qualified for three bobsled events.

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