Sunday, January 19, 2014

Sochi Cool Runnings?

The Jamaica Bobsled team of Winston Watts and Melvin Dixon has qualified to participate in the XXII Winter Olympics, but it is still questionable if there will be Cool Runnings (1993) in Sochi, Russian Federation.

Jamaican Bobsled Team of Winston Watts and Melvin Dixon 

Thirty teams can qualify for the Olympics but only 26 teams are guaranteed a spot.  There is some concern that the official Sochi Olympics Twitter page posted that Jamaica had qualified but then deleted the post.

More pressing is the question of finance. Jamaica had to tried to field competitors in 2006 and 2010 in the Bobsled due to lack of funding.  The Jamaican Olympic Association has not given the bobsled team financial support.  Winston Watts has been self funding the team to the tune of $164,000 for the last couple of years, but is looking to outside donations as a trip to Russia looms.   They are hoping to raise $40,000 on PayPal to cover travel and new equipment expenses to get to the Sochi Winter Olympics. Watts indicated: "Right now, we're at zero."

This would not be Jamaica's first time in Olympic bobsled.  In 1988, Jaimaica's unlikely qualifying for the Calgary Olympics is not remembered for their placement after an accident but their spirit in wanting to still cross the finish line.

Jamaica competed in the Albertville (France) games in 1992 but finished poorly.  However at the Lillehammer (Norway) Olympics in 1994, the Jamaicans placed 14th , finishing ahead of the United States, Russia, Australia, France and two crews from Canada.

It is easy to see the Olympics as being the pinnacle of international sporting competition where the best in the world are awarded laurels.  Now that the Olympics are not reserved only for "amateur" athletes, the National Hockey League takes a two week regular season hiatus so their players can compete for their home nations' teams.

While there is much emphasis placed on positioning oneself to win,  as the US Women's Figure Skating Team invited Ashley Wagner, who finished fourth in the 2014 US Nationals, over third place finisher Mirai Nagasu as the USFSA believed the team would be more competitive.

But sometimes just being able to compete and represent is victory enough, as can be seen in the Jamaican Bobsled team. May seem compelled to further Winston Watts and Melvin Dixon's dreams, since the website where one can contribute has crashed due to overcapacity.

No comments:

Post a Comment