Well that is the plan according to major media outlets. A ‘crowd sourced’ fundraising effort is underway to raise the $80,000 required to cover the expenses for the team. Personally I hope they make it.

I was involved with the 1988 Winter games in Calgary. I had a nice warm place in the central command center monitoring the computer network, the best bit though was that this was also the center for live international TV satellite feeds. There was literally a wall of TV’s showing live feeds from the various venues. The place was a constant hive of activity. Phones ringing, radios crackling and keyboards clicking. Everyone had a mission, there was no room for error. During the 21 days that we were in full scale operation there were very few times that I saw Mission Control quiet.

The first was when famed UK ski jumper Eddie the Eagle took his shot at the 90 meter jump. His chances of winning a medal were zero, but he had the guts and determination to try. A couple of weeks before the games opened I stood on the top of the 90 meter jump, there is no way anyone with an ounce of sense would strap ski’s on and hurtle their way down the jump.

Eddie came in dead last, but the entire crew of mission control gave him a standing ovation for his efforts.

Without doubt the other closely followed team was the fine folks from Jamaica representing their country in the Bobsled. It should not take a huge leap of imagination to figure out that Bobsled runs in Jamaica are a bit of a rarity, in fact there seems to be no record of it even ever snowing there. The Jamaican Bobsled team were a huge hit in Calgary. They had no sponsors and equipment they most likely found at a garage sale. The citizens of Calgary and other Bobsled Teams helped to get them to the starting line. Just like Eddie, they came in dead last. But they sure had a good time.

The story about the Jamaican team was featured in the 1993 hit movie Cool Runnings. But it was better to have been there and watched the real thing!

Well the Jamaicans are back! They are seeking a gold at the Sochi Games. Of course there are a few issues with the bid. 35 years after Calgary they still face the same problems over equipment and funding. They need $80,000 to mount the challenge!

I have strong hopes that Sochi will be remembered as the rebirth of Jamaican Bobsledding.

Simon Barrett

 

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