For the first time in more than two decades, a four-man bobsled team from Jamaica is heading to the Olympics. The team secured its spot in the Beijing Games on Monday, proclaiming on Instagram, "It will be fire on ice." NBC News reports the island nation’s last four-man bobsled team competed in Japan in 1998, but it was Jamaica's 1988 Olympic journey in Canada—which ended in a crash but plenty of applause—that inspired the 1993 film Cool Runnings. Per the official website of the Olympics, Jamaica will also compete in a two-man bobsled event and a monobob (one-woman) event.
If the fates intervene, Jamaica could also compete in the two-woman event as an alternate if another team is unavailable. Jamaica’s four-man bobsled team will be one of 28 to compete and will attempt to finish higher than the previous best showing for a Jamaican men's bobsled team: 14th. Members of the teams have not been officially announced, but Olympic officials say it’s probable that Jamaican American monobob athlete Jazmine Fenlator-Victorian will compete at her second Olympics.
Shanwayne Stephens, a lance corporal in Britain's Royal Air Force, will likely pilot the four-man bobsled, NBC Sports reports, with Rolando Reid, Ashley Watson, and Matthew Wekpe the likely pushers. CBS News points out some of the training adjustments they had to make during pandemic-related gym closures, with Stephens saying they practiced pushing at one point by propelling a Mini Cooper down a street. (A beloved member of the 1988 bobsled team died of COVID in 2020.)