Twenty Four Years After, Jamaican Bobsled Team Due At The Olympics And Burden Of A Nation’s Legacy

It has been 24 years since the four-man Jamaican bobsled team has made it to the Olympic games.

The team’s first foray into the sport was in 1988 and that journey inspired the popular movie, “Cool Runnings.”

“This won’t be our last Olympics, and there won’t be a next 24 years span for us to qualify again,” Nimroy Turgott, the team’s bobsled brakeman told the PBS NewsHour.

Two decades since the Jamaican four-man sled took the Olympic stage, Turgott and his team are determined to change the pattern.

After not qualifying for the Pyeongchang Olympics in 2018 by one slot, Turgott said he and the team were disappointed. But, he said his love for his daughter motivated him to keep pursuing this goal.

“To me, this is an opportunity to show the world what I can do and provide a better life for [my daughter] because I wouldn’t want her to grow up in the struggle that I grew up in,” Turgott said.

Bobsledding is an expensive sport, and Jamaica’s team doesn’t currently own their own four-man bobsled and have had to use rentals. The team set up a GoFundMe campaign late last year to raise funds so they can one day own their own and get more practice in.

Practicing on a sled that was breaking apart is just one of the few similarities that the Olympic competitors share with the history-making team loosely depicted in the famous 1993 sports movie.

“It’s a lot of similarity in terms of training methods and struggle for funding and stuff like that,” Turgott said. “I can see why people always compare us, but we are honored to be compared to ‘Cool Runnings’ and honored to be carrying on the legacy that the movie and the guys in ’88 set for us.”

The connections don’t stop there. Tal Stokes, the original driver for the 1988 team was the driving coach for Turgott and his team last season. Wayne Thomas, also an original member of the 1988 bobsled team, was Turgott’s push coach.

“They definitely motivate us a lot and inspire us,” he said of the original Jamaica bobsled team. “We want to return the favor of showing them our appreciation, and we also want to be the best team that Jamaica has ever sent to a winter game. So, we want to surpass the legacy that we set so it can inspire the next set of generations that is coming up and to represent Jamaica.”