Jamaica’s bobsled team has officially secured a place at the 2022 Winter Olympics. This is the first time in history that Jamaica will compete in three Olympic bobsled events: the four-man bobsled, the two-man men’s bobsled, and the women’s monobob. It is also the first time in 24 years that Jamaica will field a four-man bobsled team, a team last appearing at the 1998 Winter Olympics in Nagano. While Jamaica missed securing a spot in the two-woman bobsled event via a tiebreaker, the team would be able to compete as the first alternate if one qualified competitor gives up a spot.
The monobob is a new Olympic event making its debut at the 2022 Games. In the monobob, one person performs all the pushing, leaping, and driving actions necessary to operate the bobsled. The monobob was added as a medal event for women by the International Olympic Committee, which decided on this course of action instead of adding the four-person sled event as a women’s competition. Male bobsledders will race only in the two-man and four-man sled events. The monobob is one of seven events added to the Games in 2022 and the only one contested only by women.
The four-man men’s team, which prompts nostalgic memories of Jamaica’s first “Cool Runnings” Calgary Games bobsled team of 1988, qualified for the final spot in the 28-sled field. While the nation’s Olympic roster has yet to be announced, the pilot of the four-man sled is expected to be Shanwayne Stephens. The push athletes – Rolando Reid, Ashley Watson, and Matthew Wekpe – have competed with Stephens in that role in all of his races this season. The team’s best finish was in fifth place on the lower-level North American Cup. Stephens, a lance corporate in the Royal Air Force, gained publicity in the United Kingdom for his unique method of off-the-ice training in 2020 during the COVID-19 pandemic by pushing a Mini Cooper in Peterborough.
The Jamaican women’s team debuted at the 2018 Games with 2014 US Olympian Jazmine Fenlator-Victorian as the driver. Jamaica has had at least one sled competing in bobsled events at every Winter Olympics between 1988 and 2002; it also competed in 2014, with its best finish in 14th place. These recent sleds were all entered in the men’s two-man events.
In addition to competing in the men’s and women’s bobsled events, Jamaica will also be represented by skier Benjamin Alexander, a former deejay, who qualified for a quota spot in the Giant Slalom event. This is just the second time in Winter Olympics history that Jamaican entered a skier and the first time the nation is represented in an Alpine ski event.