The four-man bobsled team from Jamaica won a medal at the North American Cup competition held in Lake Placid, New York, on December 20, 2021. The team of Shanwayne Stephens, Ashley Watson, Rolando Reid, and Matthew Wekpe finished in seventh place overall with a time of 1:52.87. Team members of Stephens and Watson also finished seventh overall in the Two-Man Bobsled race on December 15, 2021, clocking 1:55.70.
Commenting on his wins, Watson posted to social media that earning his first medal in Bobsleigh was a great way to complete the last races of the year. He added that the first half of the 2021 season had been long, difficult, and emotional, but it was worth it to have the chance to compete at the Olympic Games. He went on to thank the team’s support staff, giving recognition to the team’s coaches, sponsors, physiotherapists, and others who work behind the scenes to help the team. Watson noted that the team will now take some time off to rest before moving into the 2022 season.
The Jamaica Bobsleigh and Skeleton Federation (JBSF) is now looking for funding to buy the sleds needed for the 2022 Winter Olympics in Beijing, China. A goal of $194,000 has been set by the organization to purchase the needed two monobobs at a cost of $27,000 each and one four-man bobsled at a cost of $140,000.
Jamaica first competed in the men’s Olympic bobsled event in 1988. The Jamaican team’s experiences were immortalized in the popular film “Cool Runnings” in 1993. The men’s team returned to compete in the Winter Olympics in 1992, 1994, 1998, 2002, and 2014. A Jamaican two-woman bobsled team made its first appearance at the Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang in 2018. Jamaica last had a four-man team entered at the Winter Olympics in Nagano in 1998.
A statement from the JBSF stated that the organization has used the COVID-19 pandemic “as a springboard and not as an obstacle” to the success of Jamaica’s bobsled athletes. The statement added that the JBSF is looking toward the future and the XXIV Winter Games in February of 2022, noting that Jamaica’s athletes are among the world’s best and have the work ethic, commitment, resilience, and talent to stand with any bobsled team in the world. However, without the appropriate sleds, they cannot reach their potential. According to the JBSF, Jamaica’s bobsled teams continue to inspire others and to value the excellence and adventurous spirit of the original “Cool Runnings” team.