- Jamaica's four-man bobsled team has qualified for the Winter Olympics for the first time in 24 years.
- For many, their qualification has conjured memories of Disney's "Cool Runnings."
- The team trained by pushing a Mini Cooper up a residential road, their bobsled pilot told Insider.
Jamaica's four-man bobsled team has qualified for the Winter Olympics for the first time since 1998.
For many, their unlikely Beijing qualification has conjured memories of the 1993 Disney hit movie "Cool Runnings."
The movie offers a fictionalized version of the true story of Jamaica's four-man bobsled team fighting the odds, and training in sunny climes, to participate in the 1988 Winter Olympics.
But according to Shanwayne Stephens, who is expected to be the team's pilot, they have been up against more than just hot weather this year.
"The pandemic has not made it easy for anybody to train because of all the restrictions," he told Insider. "So we ended up creating a home gym in my back garden out of timber and making cement weights out of buckets and stuff."
Stephens, born in Jamaica but based in Peterborough, England, said he came up with an "ingenious" way of ensuring that the team could strength-train while gyms were closed in the UK.
The bobsled pilot and his teammate Nimroy Turgott, who is expected to be the team's brakeman, practiced by pushing a Mini Cooper car up and down a residential road.
"You have to push a bobsleigh, and they weigh an average of 170 to 225 kilos, so it's a lot of weight that we have to move over a short distance very quickly," Stephens said. "So, in terms of the training, it was an accurate representation of what we have to do."
Turgott, who traveled from his home in Jamaica to practice with Stephens, told Insider that they trained especially hard to prove that even athletes from hot countries can achieve success in the Winter Olympics.
"We want to show the world that Jamaica still can compete in winter sports, although we're a beautiful island in the Caribbean, "he said. "We want to show the world what we can do."
Turgott also hopes that the team qualifies for the next Winter Olympics, putting a permanent end to the decades-long spell out of the competition.
And while Stephens said that their main goal is going for gold in Beijing, a sequel to Cool Runnings based on their success there would be "pretty cool" too.