Sochi 2014: Jamaica say bobsled will go on, now brace yourselves for skeleton
Sochi 2014: Jamaica's first Games appearance in a bobsled since 2002 likely to be repeated says 'Cool Runnings' sledder, with skeleton on the cards
Jamaica may have finished down the field in the two-man bobsleigh, but the former sledder Chris Stokes has insisted that they will be back in four year’s time as well as potentially starting a skeleton sliding programme.
Stokes, who competed in four Olympics himself between 1988 and 1998, is confident that Jamaica will travel to Pyeongchang 2018 with more athletes and competing in more events.
Jamaica famously first appeared in the Winter Olympics in a four-man and a two-man bob at the 1988 Calgary Games, following that up with bobsled performances in 1992, 1994, 1998 and 2002 while their only other Games representation came in 2010 through freestyle skier Errol Kerr.
“We have an exciting young set of drivers coming up, both men and women,” said Stokes.
A lot of countries have dropped out of the sport. So it’s not a Jamaica problem, it’s a problem with the sport. It’s a problem with many sports
“We hope to get some skeleton sliders out on the ice in September [as well].
“We intend to move forward to Korea and beyond with a very good program.”
The team’s driver Winston Watts has said that this will be his last Olympics, and at the age of 46 Watts’ participation is to be seen as more of an exception than the norm, according to Stokes.
“He is old for bobsled but if you take a look at him he’s in excellent physical condition,” Stokes said.
“And let’s be clear, you’re not going to see this every Games. We’re looking right now at drivers in the 18 to 22 (age) range. But the guy is a phenomenal athlete.”
And Stokes played down the funding issues which the Jamaican team experienced in the run-up to the games.
They would not have competed at all had it not been for sponsorship from Samsung and a $130,000 online crowdfunding effort.
“It’s a very expensive sport,” he said.
“It’s always an issue. But it’s an issue for everybody.
“A lot of countries have dropped out of the sport. So it’s not a Jamaica problem, it’s a problem with the sport. It’s a problem with many sports.”
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