Two Men and a Bobsleigh

4 Feb, 2014 by Tim Jenkins

Ok, so it's not skiing, it's not even snowboarding but with the Winter Olympics around the corner we couldn't help but get excited about a Jamaican team heading to Sochi to enter the two-man bobsleigh competition. We all love the film Cool Runnings and certainly for me, that is no exaggeration. Films have always been inspirational, and though I'm not Jamaican, do not speak Jamaican (can't help but improvise the film's lines a little) - the journey the 4 guys from Jamaica (and John Candy) experienced, couldn't help but hit home with my friends and I. From the shattered dreams of 3 runners to make it to the Summer Olympics and one Soap Box Derby hopeful (Sanka), a bond developed on screen which made us once again appreciate friendships off screen.

This year we will see two Jamaicans (Winston Watts and Marvin Dixon) challenge for a place on the podium and represent the tiny island of Jamaica with pride. The thousands of miles from Kingston to Sochi may represent a massive distance but we immediately learn the gap in athletic ability of these Jamaicans compared to other countries isn't as big as we would imagine and indeed perceive in the classic film. For the younger readers who may not remember the 1988 Winter Olympics where the Jamaican team were well received and treated as equals, Cool Runnings may generate thoughts that the Jamaican's appearance at the Winter Olympics is a one-off dream story. Since then, the Jamaicans have graced the stage at Lillehammer in 1994 and Salt Lake City in 2002.

Jamaica is certainly not a country we are surprised to associate with athletes. Usain Bolt and Yohan Blake are just two that crop to mind and their lightning speed and colourful characters bring joy and many smiles to their events. Looking to the Winter Olympics we cannot dismiss the value of experience Winton Watts will bring to the bobsleigh run. Having missed out on qualification in Turin and Vancouver it was an unexpected achievement for the duo to make it through to Sochi. Now that they have made it, there is bound to be a number of new supporters of the Jamaican team. If we don't hear them chanting the classic feel the rhythm, feel the rhyme words from the film, there will no doubt be many at home saying it to the their TV screens.

Our school groups will be glued to the latest news coming out from the Winter Olympics and with social media providing up to the minute updates, the talk of the playground is sure to be about sport. Sales may well go up for the 1993 film Cool Runnings and we not only hope  the Jamaicans make an impact on the games but also once again provide an inspirational story to the many students around the world who still dream of one day making it to the Olympics....And just for luck, we too will kiss our lucky egg.

About the Author

Tim Jenkins

A former primary school teacher, Tim has been writing for educational travel websites, educational publications and leisure magazines for the past three years. His first-hand experience in leading adventure residential trips and seeing the benefits of learning outside the classroom has further fuelled his interest into studying the impact of outdoor education on young learners. Always seeking his next trip to the slopes, Tim’s favourite ski resort is Les Menuires from where you can explore the Three Valleys ski area.