Fri, Feb 07, 2014 - Page 18 News List

Jamaican bobsled squad find life imitating movie

Reuters, SOCHI, Russia

Just like in iconic 1990s film Cool Runnings, Jamaica’s bobsled team are going to have to rely on their opponents’ goodwill to get them down the run after their luggage and equipment were lost en route to the Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia.

Winston Watts, the driver of Jamaica’s two-man team in Russia, said that the precious blades bought with money that he and the Jamaican Bobsleigh Federation earned through heavy fundraising had not made the journey to Sochi from the US.

“Maybe it was left in New York. It was bad weather there and we missed our flight to Moscow,” the 46-year-old told reporters after he was forced to miss training on Wednesday.

“What I am wearing now is what I have,” he said.

Watts said the Jamaican team’s chef de mission was working to get the missing items to the Black Sea Resort ahead of the Games, which start today.

Watts, who competed at the 1994, 1998 and 2002 Winter Olympics, took little solace in the team having plenty of time before the two-man competition starts on Feb. 16.

He said that favors would have to be called in to remedy the situation.

Watts attempted to downplay the significance of the lost training time saying: “It is how the brain works and about being able to adapt fast. Maybe these guys do more runs than you, but you adapt quicker.”

“We have a back-up plan, a lot of guys wanted to help us and we may race on borrowed blades,” Watts said.

“It is a tough way to start,” the driver added.

The loaning of equipment is reminiscent of the 1993 hit film Cool Runnings starring John Candy, which was based on the exploits of the four-man team that competed at the 1988 Calgary Games.

In the film, Candy borrows a practice sled in Canada days before the start of competition in order for the Jamaican team to compete.

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