by Graham Pierrepoint
Cool Runnings is a classic comedy movie which centers around the real-life story (though loosely adapted) of the first-ever Jamaican bobsleigh team to enter the Winter Olympic Games in Calgary in 1988 – it’s an underdog story that many have been inspired by, and while the events that transpired may have been a little different to those which we saw on the big screen at the time, the fact that a team from Jamaica – hardly home to snow of any kind – were able to tackle the four-man bobsleigh all the way to Olympic qualification is still nothing short of astounding. Get ready – as it seems there may be a sequel afoot – and not in the way you’d expect.
While we may never see Cool Runnings 2, it seems that Jamaica has hardly been deterred from its dreams of Winter Olympic conquest and glory – with it having been confirmed this week that the country’s female athletes are to be mounting their own bobsleigh to take to this year’s Winter Games in Pyeongchang, South Korea. They’ve just qualified – which means that Jazmine Fenlator-Victorian, Carrie Russell and Audra Segree will now be heading to snowier climes in an attempt to bring home to gold for the unlikeliest of Winter Games competitors. They’ve being led there by coach Sandra Kiriasis, who will be encouraging the country’s first-ever female bobsleigh qualifiers – thirty years on from their male counterparts taking to Calgary. It’s a truly momentous occasion – regardless of where they may finish!
The Winter Olympic Games are due to kick off again in just under a months’ time, with South Korea playing host to the 23rd Games of its kind – with some controversies over the event already having come to light. Russia has been banned from the Games outright as a result of ongoing concerns regarding doping – though clean Russian athletes will be able to compete as ‘OAR” (Olympic Athletes from Russia) attendees. There’s also been some concern over how both South and North Korea will slot in together at the Games – with a unified ice hockey team already reportedly lining up to take part in the medal chase.
The news that Jamaica will once again be heading to the Winter Games is inspiring – and while the original male team of ’88 didn’t go away with the glory, it’s the getting there that counts – and who knows if ‘18’s team can make good on what ‘88’s squad started?