Jamaica’s athletes have long served as beloved ambassadors for the island and on Friday it was announced that the Jamaica Tourist Board will sponsor the team that has once again captured the hearts and imaginations of fans around the world – the famed Jamaican bobsled (bobsleigh) team at the upcoming Beijing Winter Olympics.
“For the first time in 24 years, a four-man bobsleigh team from Jamaica has qualified to compete in the Winter Olympics and everyone is fondly recalling our original 1988 team that inspired the Hollywood movie, ‘Cool Runnings’,” said Hon. Edmund Bartlett, Minister of Tourism for Jamaica. “With the upcoming Games shining the spotlight brightly upon our bobsleigh athletes, they will serve as Jamaica’s ambassadors to the world and bring additional positive awareness for Jamaica among viewers and sports fans around the world.”
The sponsorship of USD $20,000 will go to the Jamaica Bobsleigh and Skeleton Federation, the organization that supports and oversees these athletes.
According to Minister Bartlett, “Sports are an important aspect of tourism because they bring people and cultures together over a shared enthusiasm. Avid sports fans and spectators will travel to watch their favorite sporting events and competitors and in doing so spend money in the destinations they visit, thereby benefitting the local economy. Our sports tourism niche is vital to the growth of our overall tourism sector and a key part of our overarching plan to create a stronger and more resilient Jamaica for the future.”
The Jamaica Bobsleigh & Skeleton Federation is led by CEO and President Chris Stokes, a member of the original 1988 Jamaican bobsleigh team. He debuted a song at the event entitled, “Rocket Blasta” written to celebrate and support Jamaica’s Winter Olympics’ participation.
“I am grateful for the outpouring of support for the team and they are committed to doing well and making Jamaica proud. Jamaica bobsleigh is here to stay.” said Chris Stokes. While the current bobsleigh athletes are enroute to Beijing, Shanwayne Stephens, the driver of this year’s 4-man bobsled (bobsleigh) team, provided brief remarks in a video.
“It means a lot to us to qualify for the Games. We’ve worked very hard over the past four years to have achieved what we have achieved,” said Stephens. “We’re extremely proud to represent Jamaica, Jamaica bobsleigh and everybody that is a massive ‘Cool Runnings’ fan, so we can’t wait to get out there and put in the best performance that we can.”
Fans of Jamaica’s bobsled (bobsleigh) athletes can watch them compete from February 11 through 19, 2022, on the NBC television network.
“You can expect us to go out there and bring the fire and ice and do the absolute best that we can,” said Stephens. “We’re not just a movie, we’re here to compete. I can guarantee you that we are going to go off the top of that hill like an absolute rocket.”
The Jamaica bobsled (bobsleigh) athletes who will be competing in the Beijing Games are*:
- Shanwayne Stephens – Pilot
- Matthew Wepke – Crew
- Rolando Reid – Crew
- Ashley Watson – Brakeman
- Shanwayne Stephens – Pilot
- Nimroy Turgott – Brakeman
- Jazmine Fenlator-Victorian
* – NOTE: Positions and teams are subject to change.
For more information about Jamaica’s bobsleigh athletes, visit www.jamaicanbobsleigh.com.
For more information about Jamaica, visit www.visitjamaica.com.