Make way for 'Cool Runnings 2'

  • Article by: CHIP SCOGGINS , Star Tribune
  • Updated: February 14, 2014 - 11:56 PM

No worries; Jamaica overcame many challenges to return to Games.

hide

Jamaica’s JAM-1 sled took a turn during a training run last week in the men’s two-man bobsled event. Competition begins Sunday.

Photo: Michael Sohn • Associated Press,

CameraStar Tribune photo galleries

Cameraview larger

– The Jamaican bobsled team’s Olympic experience began with a four-hour weather delay at New York’s JFK Airport, a missed connection in Moscow and lost luggage upon arrival in Sochi.

And protein powder in their eyes on the bobsled track.

No worries. It takes a lot more than that to ruin their positive vibe.

“Jamaicans are the most loving, caring guys,” Jamaican pilot Winston Watts said. “You just have to go to Jamaica to know Jamaicans. We appreciate everyone in this world. Does not matter who you are, we still going to love you.”

Seriously, how do you not root for that?

Back in the Winter Olympics for what’s being hailed as “Cool Runnings 2,” the Jamaicans have achieved cult status because of their easygoing nature and against-all-odds back story.

The two-man team of Watts and brakeman Marvin Dixon qualified for Sochi after Watts came out of retirement. Their competition begins Sunday.

The Jamaican bobsledders earned international popularity after qualifying for the Calgary Games in 1988, the country’s debut in the Winter Olympics. The unlikely journey of that endearing four-man Caribbean bobsled team inspired the 1993 movie “Cool Runnings,” based on their story.

“Everyone laughs at the movie about the Jamaican bobsleigh team, but we’re no joke,” Dixon said. “We’re serious and here to compete.”

This is Watts’ fourth trip to the Olympics, and his first since Salt Lake City in 2002. The 46-year-old participated in his first Olympics in Lillehammer, Norway, in 1994.

Watts competed in previous Olympiads under the name Winston Watt, which apparently stemmed from a mistake on his passport. No worries. He didn’t even bother to fix it.

“I just flow with it,” he recently told the Telegraph newspaper. “It doesn’t matter what I compete under, I just use the name that suits the day. Winston Watt, Winston Watts. Whatever. Makes no difference, man.”

His fourth Olympic Games have not been without challenges, either. Initially, the Jamaicans didn’t have enough money to cover their costs. No worries. A social media fundraising campaign raised $178,000 to help pay for their expenses.

“We had to hold a news conference to ask people to stop [donating],” Watts said. “We are not greedy people. People want us to achieve, and they had not seen us for a long time in the Olympics. They were so overwhelmed and wanted to help us, so that we could get the equipment.”

That equipment got misplaced during the trip to Sochi, likely caused by a snowstorm that hit New York City on the day of their trip. The delay in getting their luggage and necessary equipment caused them to miss one practice run and led to a messy situation once they hit the track.

“We got our clothes, but [they were] full of protein powder,” Watts said. Airport security “opened the protein powder containers, and never closed the tins. … In my helmet I had protein powder going into my eyes.”

The Olympic bobsledding community has embraced the Jamaican team and offered its support in many ways. Team Canada offered to let the Jamaicans use their blades if their luggage failed to show in time.

“The bobsleigh circuit is like a family,” Watts said. “And they love Jamaicans. We make people smile all the time. When [other athletes] have a bad day, we just keep them going.”

  • related content

  • Scoggins: Lakeville coach forms puck-stopping bond with Finland

    Friday February 14, 2014

    Lakeville's Andy Kent likely could play an integral role in helping Finland accomplish its goal of earning a women's hockey medal. The Finns play Sweden on Saturday in the quarterfinals.

  • Canada denied again as Japanese skater wins men's gold

    Saturday February 15, 2014

    Highly decorated Patrick Chan joined a long list of countrymen — including one who coached the Sochi champ — to be denied gold.

  • The two-man team from Jamaica JAM-1, piloted by Winston Watts, brake in the finish area during the men's two-man bobsled training at the 2014 Winter Olympics, Thursday, Feb. 13, 2014, in Krasnaya Polyana, Russia. (AP Photo/Dita Alangkara)

  • get related content delivered to your inbox

  • manage my email subscriptions

ADVERTISEMENT

St. Louis - LP: A. Wainwright 1 FINAL
Pittsburgh - WP: J. Locke 3
Texas - WP: C. Lewis 12 FINAL
Seattle - LP: E. Ramirez 4
Washington 2 Bottom 2nd Inning
Philadelphia 2
Tampa Bay 3 Top 4th Inning
Baltimore 1
Boston 0 Top 5th Inning
Toronto 1
NY Yankees 4 Top 3rd Inning
Detroit 0
Atlanta 3 Bottom 4th Inning
NY Mets 1
Chicago Cubs 2 Top 4th Inning
Cincinnati 2
Cleveland 0 Bottom 1st Inning
Chicago WSox 0
Minnesota 0 Bottom 1st Inning
Kansas City 0
Oakland 0 Top 1st Inning
Houston 0
Milwaukee - Y. Gallardo 8:10 PM
San Diego - O. Despaigne
Los Angeles - C. Kershaw 8:40 PM
Arizona - W. Miley
Miami - H. Alvarez 9:05 PM
LA Angels - H. Santiago
Colorado - F. Morales 9:15 PM
San Francisco - T. Hudson
Atlanta 8/28/14 5:00 PM
Jacksonville
Detroit 8/28/14 6:00 PM
Buffalo
Indianapolis 8/28/14 6:00 PM
Cincinnati
Kansas City 8/28/14 6:00 PM
Green Bay
NY Jets 8/28/14 6:00 PM
Philadelphia
St. Louis 8/28/14 6:00 PM
Miami
Carolina 8/28/14 6:30 PM
Pittsburgh
New England 8/28/14 6:30 PM
NY Giants
Washington 8/28/14 6:30 PM
Tampa Bay
Baltimore 8/28/14 7:00 PM
New Orleans
Chicago 8/28/14 7:00 PM
Cleveland
Denver 8/28/14 7:00 PM
Dallas
Minnesota 8/28/14 7:00 PM
Tennessee
San Francisco 8/28/14 7:00 PM
Houston
Arizona 8/28/14 9:00 PM
San Diego
Seattle 8/28/14 9:00 PM
Oakland
(21) Texas A&M 8/28/14 5:00 PM
(9) So Carolina
Wake Forest 8/28/14 6:02 PM
ULM
Boise State 8/28/14 7:00 PM
(18) Ole Miss
Tulane 8/28/14 7:00 PM
Tulsa
Temple 8/28/14 8:15 PM
Vanderbilt
Rutgers 8/28/14 9:00 PM
Washington St
Weber State 8/28/14 9:30 PM
(19) Arizona State
BYU 8/29/14 6:00 PM
Connecticut
(6) Jacksonville St 8/29/14 6:30 PM
(8) Michigan State
Bowling Green 8/29/14 6:30 PM
Western Ky
TX-San Antonio 8/29/14 8:00 PM
Houston
Colorado State 8/29/14 8:00 PM
Colorado
UNLV 8/29/14 9:30 PM
Arizona
Penn State 8/30/14 7:30 AM
UCF
Troy 8/30/14 11:00 AM
UAB
(7) UCLA 8/30/14 11:00 AM
Virginia
Western Mich 8/30/14 11:00 AM
Purdue
(5) Ohio State 8/30/14 11:00 AM
Navy
Appalachian St 8/30/14 11:00 AM
Michigan
Ga Southern 8/30/14 11:30 AM
NC State
Boston College 8/30/14 2:00 PM
Massachusetts
West Virginia 8/30/14 2:30 PM
(2) Alabama
Rice 8/30/14 2:30 PM
(17) Notre Dame
(10) South Dakota St 8/30/14 2:30 PM
(24) Missouri
Fla Atlantic 8/30/14 2:30 PM
(22) Nebraska
California 8/30/14 2:30 PM
Northwestern
Marshall 8/30/14 2:30 PM
Miami-Ohio
UC Davis 8/30/14 3:00 PM
(11) Stanford
Arkansas 8/30/14 3:00 PM
(6) Auburn
(16) Clemson 8/30/14 4:30 PM
(12) Georgia
Liberty 8/30/14 5:00 PM
(23) North Carolina
Ohio U 8/30/14 5:00 PM
Kent State
Louisiana Tech 8/30/14 6:00 PM
(4) Oklahoma
Idaho 8/30/14 6:00 PM
Florida
Stephen F Austin 8/30/14 6:10 PM
(20) Kansas State
Fresno State 8/30/14 6:30 PM
(15) USC
Southern Miss 8/30/14 6:30 PM
Miss State
Texas-El Paso 8/30/14 7:00 PM
New Mexico
North Texas 8/30/14 7:00 PM
Texas
(1) Florida State 8/30/14 7:00 PM
Oklahoma State
(14) Wisconsin 8/30/14 8:00 PM
(13) LSU
South Dakota 8/30/14 9:30 PM
(3) Oregon
(25) Washington 8/30/14 9:30 PM
Hawaii
Utah State 8/31/14 6:00 PM
Tennessee
SMU 8/31/14 6:30 PM
(10) Baylor
Miami-Florida 9/1/14 7:00 PM
Louisville
D.C. 9:30 PM
Los Angeles
Ottawa 8/29/14 6:30 PM
Montreal
Winnipeg 8/31/14 3:00 PM
Saskatchewan
Toronto 9/1/14 12:00 PM
Hamilton
Edmonton 9/1/14 3:30 PM
Calgary

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

question of the day

Poll: How many games will the Timberwolves win this season?

Weekly Question

ADVERTISEMENT

Connect with twitterConnect with facebookConnect with Google+Connect with PinterestConnect with PinterestConnect with RssfeedConnect with email newsletters

ADVERTISEMENT

 
Close