After a 12-year absence from the Winter Olympics, the Jamaican Bobsleigh team look to qualify for the games in Sochi.
Unlike the most famous Jamaican bobsled team, the 1988 group that became the loose basis for the 1993 Disney film "Cool Runnings," the 2014 team is just two men, whittled down due to the logistical and financial difficulties of getting the U.S.- and Jamaica-based team together.
Winston Watts, 46, came out of retirement to lead the team after a former teammate saw the good shape he was in back in 2010. Watts started his Olympic career in 1994 but gave the sport up after failing to qualify for the 2006 games. Watts is eight years older than any bobsledder who has ever qualified for the Olympics, Today says.
He has put up his own money to fly teammates to Evanston, Wyo., close to the Olympic track in Park City, Utah, where the team bases its operations. All the hard work has been paying off. The team placed 5th in the North American Cup race last week. They’ll need to place in the top 30 in the world to qualify for Sochi.
Watts and his brakeman Marvin Dixon are still scrambling to fund the expensive trip to Sochi, hoping that sponsors and the Jamaican Olympic Association will support them in the final push. “I’ve got headaches a lot of times man, believe you me,” Watts told the Telegraph.
Still, Watts is as confident as ever. “Man, you should see me! Age is just a number. You’d never believe I was a man of 46,” he said to the Telegraph. “You’d say maybe 30, 35. I’m big, dark and handsome, like a 6ft, 235lb runnin’ back.”
Despite the optimism, betting companies aren’t getting behind the team. For example, Ladbrokes has the team 1000/1 for the Olympic Gold. But if the team is as good as Watts says it is, then that’s just another reason to put your money behind the Jamaicans.
You can donate to the team and help get them to Russia (and maybe a place on the winner’s podium) on their website, here.
Graduate of the University of Massachusetts Amherst's fine Journalism program. Traveling will be a part of my job, I've got my eyes on South America, the Middle East, Africa,...