Whistler 2010- No Cool Runnings Mon

1988 Jamaican Bobsled Team
1988 Jamaican Bobsled Team

Many of us remember the 1988 Calgary Winter Olympics for the debut of the Jamaican 4-man bobsled team. It inspired the making of the Disney film, Cool Runnings and seemed to make Jamaica and bobsledding almost synonymous.

This year it is saddening to report that while Jamaica still has its bobsled program, the team failed to qualify for the Whistler 2010 Olympics. It fell two sleds short, according to The Associated Press.

The Original Team

Although the team finished in last place, back in 1988, they managed to become fan darlings for their perseverance and their quick starting speed.

The stereotypical portrayal of Jamaicans as nothing more than pot smoking Rastafarians, with no ambition or drive was totally debunked once the team gained popularity and respect.

Cool Runnings, while only loosely based on the actual Jamaican bobsled team, was close enough to reality to give the team endless notoriety.

As the Jamaican contingent marched in the opening ceremonies, the absence of the bobsled team was noticeable and mentioned by commentators.

Originally the team consisted of

Patrick Brown (Coach)
Dudley Stokes (Captain)
Chris Stokes
Devon Harris
Michael White

Click on this 2002 Sports Illustrated link to re-read their incredible Olympic journey.

Original 1988 Crash at Calgary Olympics

The First "Jamaican" Sleigh (1988)  my-island-jamaica.com
The First "Jamaican" Sleigh (1988) my-island-jamaica.com
Current Team Picture        jamaicapage.com
Current Team Picture jamaicapage.com
Devon Harriss   www.life.com
Devon Harriss www.life.com

Devon Harris-Original Member’s Tearful Interview

Understandably, failing to qualify made for an emotionally packed telephone interview with original Jamaican team member, Devon Harris.

“I’m in tears, man. It’s one of those things. It’s highly disappointing. Our team worked very hard and fell short.”

Harris stated the team would be back for the 2014 Olympics, as they were not going to let this failure stop their future goals.

“We intend to come back and come back huge,” Harris said. “This is not the end.”

While there was a small chance the team could advance if another country dropped out, apparently that window of opportunity has passed and Jamaica has no hope of being a last minute substitution.

Had the team succeeded, it would have been a 22 year milestone reached after the 1988 team qualified for the Calgary Olympics

Hannukkah Wallace   jamaica-star.com
Hannukkah Wallace jamaica-star.com

Meet Jamaican’s Current Driver

His name is Hannukkah Wallace (not a typo) and he is the only driver the nation can afford to pay.

As was the case with the original team members, Wallace’s roots are in track and field.

He has been with the team for 3 years, which is not long in a sport in which drivers require 5,7, even 10 years of experience to reach the height of their abilities.

Even still, Wallace did manage to rank in the top 50 of the 4-man world sled rankings.

He needs to move up a few more spots to better contend with other countries.

Jamaican Program Still Underfunded

Would it surprise you to know that the Jamaican bobsled program to this day suffers with substandard equipment and insufficient funding?

Or that they still rely on the kindness of other countries to get a proper sled?

American Todd Hays provided equipment and expertise before he himself had to retire earlier this year, after a terrible crash in his bobsled.

It is rumored he might be offered the coaching position as Jamaica gears up to add more drivers and sleds for the upcoming 2014 winter games in Sochi Russia.

Such improvements would at least give them better chances to win and gain experience between now and 2014.

What Now?

Well even though they will not participate in the Olympics they will still be attending the games and will be able to at least share in the Olympic experience.

After the Olympics have concluded they will concentrate on their rebuilding program and continue training and preparing for the seasons to come.

For all of us who remember their Olympic debut and asked ourselves, “how did Jamaicans learn to bobsled with no ice?”

At least we know they are still around and kicking, they still use sprinters, and they still strive to be the best their training and equipment allow them to be.

Hopefully we can look forward to seeing them race competitively at the 2014 Games, and perhaps nostalgia will even cause NBC to update their story and introduce the viewing audience to this year’s team.

Dare we hope, perhaps some footage will be displayed to the viewing audience?

In the meantime, if you have yet to see Cool Runnings, it is priced at a steal on Amazon.com, why not pick up a DVD and learn how the team and the concept came together way back when.

Olympic Favorites

As for the rest of the worldwide field, the USA has many chances to medal in the 4-men and 2-men bobsled events. Both Steve Holcomb and John Napier have excellent teams. In fact Steve Holcomb's, Night Train, stands in the #1 position overall in the world rankings.

The US qualified 3 sleds, USA-1, USA-2, and USA-3.

The USA women have excellent chances to finish in the medals as well, as they rank in the top 10 world rankings.

Jamaican Team 2008

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12 comments

Jen's Solitude profile image

Jen's Solitude 6 years ago from Delaware Author

My pleasure ethel.


ethel smith profile image

ethel smith 6 years ago from Kingston-Upon-Hull

THanks for the memories


Jen's Solitude profile image

Jen's Solitude 6 years ago from Delaware Author

Thanks Tammy. I am waiting for the bobsledding competition to begin, I imagine they will be mentioned in detail for not being there.


Tammy Lochmann profile image

Tammy Lochmann 6 years ago

too bad...they still get a lot of attention but no one wants to help. Great Hub


Jen's Solitude profile image

Jen's Solitude 6 years ago from Delaware Author

I agree horsecrazy and thanks.


horsecrazyheidi profile image

horsecrazyheidi 6 years ago from good old Arkansas

That is a shame they didn't make it But great hub


Jen's Solitude profile image

Jen's Solitude 6 years ago from Delaware Author

Reported they will be spectators, fishtiger and will still be able to experience the Olympics although not as competitors.


fishtiger58 profile image

fishtiger58 6 years ago from Momence, Illinois

I was watching the opening ceremonies and I did notice the Jamaican bobsled team didn't make it. I wish they had.


Jen's Solitude profile image

Jen's Solitude 6 years ago from Delaware Author

Disappointing for sure travel_man, but at least they are still around even if they didn't qualify. Thanks for your comment.


travel_man1971 profile image

travel_man1971 6 years ago from Bicol, Philippines

That's sad. Anyway, there's still another chance to do it. I've watched the movie, Cool Runnings. It's one of my All-Time Greats. Thanks, Jen.


Jen's Solitude profile image

Jen's Solitude 6 years ago from Delaware Author

Thanks Paradise7, appreciate you taking the time to leave a comment.


Paradise7 profile image

Paradise7 6 years ago from Upstate New York

This is a terrific hub on an unusual team and sport for the Olympics. Thanks!

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