Quick Intro: Jamaican Bobsled History

Need a quick intro to Jamaican bobsled history? The history of the Jamaican bobsled team was greatly influenced by two American businessmen. While in Jamaica, the Americans went to a Jamaican pushcart race. The American businessmen noticed that pushcart races were very similar to the sport of bobsled. They decided to approach the Jamaican military to try to develop a Jamaican bobsled team. The first team consisted of three members of the Jamaican armed forces and a railway engineer. An American coach was hired to teach these former runners and sprinters how to compete in the sport of bobsledding.

The thought of a bobsled team from a country that had never seen snow was a bit comical. The truth was that the Jamaican bobsled team did not get much practice on ice. But that simple fact alone was not going to stop these determined athletes. With borrowed equipment, the Jamaican bobsled team headed to the 1988 Olympic games in Calgary. Unfortunately, a crash on one of their four runs would put an end to the dream of medaling at the 1988 Olympic games. The Jamaican bobsled team may have not won a medal, but they won the hearts of many people around the world. It did not matter if the 1988 Jamaican bobsled team won or lost. The Olympic fans loved them for trying when everyone said they had no chance. Disney would later make a movie about that first Jamaican bobsled team called "Cool Runnings."

The Jamaican bobsled team returned to the Olympics in 1992. They finished in 34th place after completing all of their runs. In 1994 the team qualified for the Lillehammer games. This is where the Jamaican bobsled team would slide to their best finish ever. The team finished in 14th place, ahead of many other strong and experienced teams. The Jamaicans excellent performance at the Lillehammer games shocked the entire bobsledding world. Unfortunately, this team would not qualify for any subsequent Olympics. Today the spirit of the Jamaican bobsled team stays strong, and they hope for another chance to compete.


Embassy of Jamaica

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