Among Olympic stories that have been turned into movies, “Cool Runnings” is among the most beloved. The 1993 film is loosely based on the experiences of the Jamaican bobsled team when it made its Olympic debut at the 1988 games.
The real Jamaican team went to five straight Olympics but missed the past two. In Sochi, the Jamaicans are back and the Olympic Zone caught up with them.
The two couldn’t be more incongruous a tropical island nation and an ice-lined race track.
Throw in a bobsled and, somehow, it seems the two go hand in hand.
“I think like everybody else Cool Runnings was my history class in the sport of bobsledding,” American bobsledder Aja Evans said.
“I watch it every time it’s on TV. I actually grew up with that movie so it’s a classic, I love it,” American bobsledder Steven Holcomb said.
Yes, after a 12-year absence, believe it: the Jamaican bobsled team is back at the Olympics…
“Oh my goodness man it’s unreal. I feel like I’m the king of Russia,” Jamaican bobsledder Winston Watts said.
While “king” may be a stretch, let’s just say team captain Winston Watts and teammate Marvin Dixon are quite the celebrities here in Sochi.
“We’re special man. The thing is because we’re so loving, caring and we’re fun people. You know we’re from the tropics. And it’s unbelievable that people from the tropics can do a winter sport and be so good in a winter sport. It’s opened so much peoples’ eyes throughout the world,” Watts said.
One of those people is luger Shiva Keshavan. A five-time Olympian, Keshavan saw Cool Runnings while attending a sports camp as a kid growing up in India.
“That was really inspiring for me and we, even then of course you know we, we the goal wasn’t really to make it to the Olympics but you know the-the dreams are building up from there. It’s an extremely inspirational movie,” Keshavan said.
The movie may be their claim to fame, but Watts is ready to change that and in Sochi show just how far they’ve come since that historic team in 1988.