‘Fire on ice’: Jamaica make history with 3 bobsleigh teams to Olympics

Jamaica have qualified for three Olympic bobsleigh events for the first time ever, their team said, setting the stage for a “Cool Runnings”-style underdog drama to unfold at the Beijing Games.

For the first time in 24 years, Team Jamaica will send a four-man sled, the event which inspired the popular film about the Caribbean country’s first unlikely foray into the winter sport.

“It will be fire on ice,” Team Jamaica said Monday on their official Twitter account. “This will be the 1st time JAM has qualified in 3 Olympic bobsled events: four-man, two-man and women’s monobob”.

But in a sign of the challenges they face, the team have been trying to crowdfund $194 000 for new equipment since late November, with an appeal called “Cool Sleds for the Hottest Thing On Ice”.

“(The athletes) are as committed, hardworking, resilient, and talented as any, but without elite sleds they can never reach their potential,” the webpage reads. 

“We don’t want to be drag racing in a Prius.”

So far less than $4 000 has been raised.

Jamaica also missed a two-woman spot at Beijing on a tiebreaker, but could still make it as first alternate if a qualified nation gives up a spot.

The country’s bobsleigh team made headlines with their improbable attempt at Olympic glory in Calgary 1988, and their story as told in the 1993 film captured imaginations around the world.

Last minute team member replacement Chris Stokes is now the president of Jamaica’s bobsleigh federation.

© Agence France-Presse

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