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.”

The Jamaicans undoubtedly will have a large cheering section for them here, though their families were unable to travel to Sochi because of the cost.

“In Jamaica, people will gather near big TV screens on the streets to watch,” Watts said.

He admits he is a little uneasy about all the attention, and he is thankful that people care enough to help support them financially so that they can compete in these Olympics. But he doesn’t want to take attention away from other competitors.

“I don’t want to feel above everyone else,” Watts said. “Where I am from is a very poor family. I remember where I am coming from and try not to think that I am better than the other guys because I represent my country.”

 

  • 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

Chicago 17 FINAL
Detroit 34
Philadelphia 33 FINAL
Dallas 10
Seattle 19 FINAL
San Francisco 3
Cleveland 11/30/14 12:00 PM
Buffalo
Washington 11/30/14 12:00 PM
Indianapolis
Tennessee 11/30/14 12:00 PM
Houston
San Diego 11/30/14 12:00 PM
Baltimore
NY Giants 11/30/14 12:00 PM
Jacksonville
Cincinnati 11/30/14 12:00 PM
Tampa Bay
Oakland 11/30/14 12:00 PM
St. Louis
New Orleans 11/30/14 12:00 PM
Pittsburgh
Carolina 11/30/14 12:00 PM
Minnesota
Arizona 11/30/14 3:05 PM
Atlanta
New England 11/30/14 3:25 PM
Green Bay
Denver 11/30/14 7:30 PM
Kansas City
Miami 12/1/14 7:30 PM
NY Jets
Edmonton 0 FINAL(OT)
Nashville 1
ULM 54 FINAL
Robert Morris 71
Santa Clara 57 FINAL
Tennessee 64
Oklahoma 59 FINAL
Butler 46
Austin Peay 79 FINAL
Brown 58
Princeton 56 FINAL
Texas-El Paso 62
Coastal Carolina 67 FINAL
Chattanooga 78
Kansas 76 FINAL
Rhode Island 60
Wisconsin 68 FINAL
Georgetown 65
FIU 53 FINAL
USC Upstate 68
Long Island 54 FINAL
Stony Brook 73
San Diego 71 FINAL
Xavier 82
Illinois 88 FINAL
Indiana State 62
Cal State Fullerton 67 FINAL
Wright State 62
Western Ky 62 FINAL
Saint Josephs 59
Michigan State 77 FINAL
Rider 45
UCLA 56 FINAL
North Carolina 78
Long Beach State 73 FINAL
Western Mich 55
Marquette 72 FINAL
Georgia Tech 70
Stephen F Austin 73 FINAL
Prairie View 61
UAB 47 FINAL
Florida 56
Rice 71 FINAL
Mercer 77
San Jose St 56 FINAL
Washington 78
Washington St 43 FINAL
UC Santa Barbara 71
Baylor 71 FINAL
Memphis 47
LSU 23 FINAL
Texas A&M 17
(6) TCU 48 FINAL
Texas 10
Northern Ill 10:00 AM
Western Mich
Nebraska 11:00 AM
Iowa
Western Ky 11:00 AM
(19) Marshall
UCF 11:00 AM
So Florida
Houston 11:00 AM
SMU
Akron 12:00 PM
Kent State
Ball State 12:00 PM
Bowling Green
Buffalo 12:00 PM
Massachusetts
Toledo 12:00 PM
Eastern Mich
Arkansas 1:30 PM
(17) Missouri
Navy 2:00 PM
South Alabama
(13) Arizona State 2:30 PM
(12) Arizona
Stanford 2:30 PM
(9) UCLA
(21) Colorado State 2:30 PM
Air Force
Virginia 7:00 PM
Virginia Tech
East Carolina 7:30 PM
Tulsa
North Texas 11/29/14 11:00 AM
TX-San Antonio
Old Dominion 11/29/14 11:00 AM
Fla Atlantic
(16) Georgia Tech 11/29/14 11:00 AM
(8) Georgia
Kentucky 11/29/14 11:00 AM
(24) Louisville
So Carolina 11/29/14 11:00 AM
(23) Clemson
West Virginia 11/29/14 11:00 AM
Iowa State
Rice 11/29/14 11:00 AM
Louisiana Tech
Michigan 11/29/14 11:00 AM
(7) Ohio State
Purdue 11/29/14 11:00 AM
Indiana
Illinois 11/29/14 11:00 AM
Northwestern
Cincinnati 11/29/14 11:00 AM
Temple
NC State 11/29/14 11:30 AM
North Carolina
Syracuse 11/29/14 11:30 AM
Boston College
Louisiana 11/29/14 11:30 AM
Troy
Utah 11/29/14 12:00 PM
Colorado
Texas State 11/29/14 1:00 PM
Georgia State
Idaho 11/29/14 1:00 PM
Appalachian St
Wyoming 11/29/14 2:00 PM
New Mexico
New Mexico St 11/29/14 2:00 PM
Arkansas State
UAB 11/29/14 2:30 PM
Southern Miss
(4) Miss State 11/29/14 2:30 PM
(18) Ole Miss
Notre Dame 11/29/14 2:30 PM
USC
(10) Michigan State 11/29/14 2:30 PM
Penn State
(22) Minnesota 11/29/14 2:30 PM
(14) Wisconsin
(5) Baylor 11/29/14 2:30 PM
Texas Tech
Florida 11/29/14 2:30 PM
(1) Florida State
Rutgers 11/29/14 2:30 PM
Maryland
San Jose St 11/29/14 2:30 PM
San Diego St
Tennessee 11/29/14 3:00 PM
Vanderbilt
Kansas 11/29/14 3:00 PM
(11) Kansas State
Connecticut 11/29/14 3:00 PM
Memphis
BYU 11/29/14 3:30 PM
California
ULM 11/29/14 5:00 PM
Ga Southern
Middle Tennessee 11/29/14 6:00 PM
Texas-El Paso
Hawaii 11/29/14 6:00 PM
Fresno State
Wake Forest 11/29/14 6:00 PM
Duke
Pittsburgh 11/29/14 6:00 PM
Miami-Florida
(15) Auburn 11/29/14 6:45 PM
(2) Alabama
(3) Oregon 11/29/14 7:00 PM
Oregon State
Utah State 11/29/14 9:15 PM
(25) Boise State
Washington 11/29/14 9:30 PM
Washington St
Nevada 11/29/14 9:30 PM
UNLV
UCF 12/4/14 6:30 PM
East Carolina
Hamilton 11/30/14 5:00 PM
Calgary
Hartford 43 FINAL
Furman 53
Clemson 77 FINAL
Ohio State 86
Idaho State 53 FINAL
San Diego State 68
East Carolina 58 FINAL
(22) Syracuse 69
Santa Clara 0 Cancelled
Texas-El Paso 0
Florida State 68 FINAL
Washington 80
Wichita State 39 FINAL
Fla Gulf Coast 56
Wisconsin 44 FINAL
(1) South Carolina 67
Kansas State 0 Cancelled
LSU 0
BYU 73 FINAL
BYU-Hawaii 52
Charlotte 58 FINAL
Montana 67
Illinois 77 FINAL
(9) Kentucky 71
Central Michigan 61 FINAL
Richmond 56
Oklahoma 68 FINAL
South Florida 83
Princeton 72 FINAL
Wake Forest 55
(19) Oregon State 85 FINAL
Butler 53

ADVERTISEMENT

question of the day

Poll: Will the Gophers bring home The Axe?

Weekly Question

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

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

ADVERTISEMENT

 
Close