One of the heartwarming stories of the 2014 Winter Olympic Games is the return of the Jamaican bobsled team to the competition. It’s not often that a tropical-weather country like Jamaica competes in the Winter Olympics. After all, they’re better-suited for the warmer version where they have collected a total of 67 medals all-time in the Summer Games. However, even though they’ve never won a medal, their bobsled team has a pretty big claim to fame.
In 1993, the Disney movie “Cool Runnings” was released, which was inspired by the true story of the Jamaican bobsled team’s miraculous qualification in the 1988 Olympic Games in Alberta. The comedy turned out to be one of the most popular sports flicks of all time.
The good news is that the Jamaicans have made it back. After failing to qualify for the 2006 Turin Games and the 2010 Vancouver Games, they qualified for 2014. The problem was that even though they made the cut, they were $30,000 short in funding and were in jeopardy of missing the Olympics again. That was until they tried out online crowdsourcing and received a flood of support, raising nearly $122,000.
So now the crowd will roar once again when the countrymen from an exotic, Caribbean island try to earn a medal while racing down an ice-lined track.
Bovada is asking the question that many have already been wondering: can they actually win a medal? The Jamaican team has been treated like celebrities all week long at the Olympic Village but they’ve made it pretty clear: They don’t only want to be known solely for making an appearance at the Winter Games. They want to make more history by taking home a medal.
The odds show that they are a longshot as they are a 40-1 to win a medal in Sochi and 8-1 to even finish in the top 10. To shock the world, they’ll have to overcome the German team piloted by Maximilian Arndt and the American team piloted by Steven Holcomb, who are the current favorites. The latter will be a real challenge as Holcomb has won five of eight World Cup events this season. The Germans have also shown their pedigree this season by winning the four-man bobsled at the World Cup.
If the Jamaicans did finish ahead of USA, it wouldn’t be the first time, as they actually did so back in 1994 in Lillehammer in the four-man bobsled. They finished a commendable 14th, which is their best result so far. In 2002, the two-man team set an Olympic record for the best push-start time ever with 4.78. One of the members from that duo, Winston Watts, is actually part of this year’s team. Maybe there’s some more magic in them?
Photo via Twitter/@IrieDame