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Jamaica Cycling Team Returns to Olympics for the First Time in 24 Years

When Jamaica’s four-man snowmobile team made their Olympic debut in 1988, the story continued to inspire the much-loved Disney movie “Cool Runnings” – and the less certain from Jamaica helped do so. familiar with the sport unique to the masses.

And Saturday, for the first time since 1998 Winter Games, Jamaica has a quadruple cycling team that competes in the Olympics. Their sled will be driven by Shanwayne Stephens, with Rolando Reid, Ashley Watson and Matthew Wekpe as the thrusters.

“I think it’s everyone’s dream to represent their country, and we’re doing it, living and breathing it,” Stephens said earlier this week after competing in the two-way toboggan event. people.

Jamaica is one of 28 teams competing in Saturday’s four-person toboggan competition. The top teams will advance to the finals on Sunday.

Competition could be a big win for Jamaica, who finished last after the first two games on Saturday. Germany leads the way, with teams in first and second place.

In some ways, Team Jamaica is leaning on the film’s story. First, Wekpe carries a plastic egg with him, as does the film’s fictional stuntman, Sanka Coffie.

But they also want to tell their own story. In fact, the team recorded a song to convey its message: “We’re not just a movie,” the lyrics begin.

In one Interview on the Olympic website“We want to show we’re really tough competitors and we’re there to put on a really good performance at the Olympics,” Stephens said.

Reid is from Jamaica and the running track at Morgan State University, a historic Black College in Maryland. His journey in the snowmobile game began in 2019, after his brother expressed an interest in the sport.

In preparation for the Olympics, Reid returns to his alma mater to train with the track and field team. In an interview with The Baltimore SunThe former track and field star said he only started learning how to run on ice in September.

Reid isn’t the only teammate new to the sport. Wekpe, who has represented Jamaica on international stage in rugbystarted training with the sled team just a year ago, amid the coronavirus pandemic.

Stephens, the pilot, and Watson, one of the promoters, bring the most experience to the Jamaican team. Watson, from Peterborough, England, first started skiing in 2013, but took a break before recently returning to the sport. Stephens, who was born in Jamaica but raised in the UK, started sledding in 2015 after joining the Royal Air Force.

Stephens made headlines early in the pandemic when it was revealed that his training program during the lockdown was involved pushing fiance’s cart around Peterborough. (When recounting his regime to Queen Elizabeth II during a video call, Stephens elicited a chuckle from the Queen, who added, “Well, I suppose that’s a way to train.”)

The historical importance of the story of Jamaica’s 2022 toboggan doesn’t end there. The country also has a team in the two-person skating event and a female athlete in the monobob, an individual ski event making its Olympic debut, which made it possible. first The country has qualified for three snowmobile racing events in a single Olympics.

https://www.nytimes.com/2022/02/17/sports/olympics/jamaica-bobsled.html Jamaica Cycling Team Returns to Olympics for the First Time in 24 Years

Fry Electronics Team

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