Can Jamaica replicate the 1988 success in 2022

Can Jamaica replicate the 1988 success in 2022

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The Beijing Winter Olympics are already underway, but we’re going to have to wait until near the end before we get to see the bobsledding action. What makes the Beijing games so important to Jamaica is that it is the first time in 24 years that they have fielded a four-man bobsleigh team.

Of course, everyone is thrilled to see the Jamaican team taking to the ice again, but no one more so than Devon Harris who was part of the 1988 team in Calgary. When asked about the chances of the 2022 team, Devon Harris told Betway “It’s always difficult to say how they’re going to do, what I know is that they’re going to work hard and they’re going to compete hard”. Is that alone going to be enough for this team to make history like the team of ’88? Let’s take a look.

1988 – The year when history was made

For those who are unfamiliar with the story, it was 1988 when Jamaica first entered a team in the bobsled event, a feat which was big news at the time. This saw the Jamaican team traveling to Calgary, Canada where they were set to compete. As the first team from Jamaica, none of them knew quite what to expect. Harris recalls that they were always feeling the cold and were always hungry. The freezing temperatures were a million miles away from the 30 celsius winters that they were used to.

Harris and co made history in 1988 just by attending the Winter Olympics. The reality is that the team were hardly victorious and were even disqualified after four collisions. However, no one can take away what was achieved in that year and the fact that this laid the path for where we are now.

Determination like no other

While the 1988 team may not have returned home with a medal, they did return as heroes. As the Disney film, Cool Runnings shows, this was a team that refused to give up, no matter what was thrown at it. At the end of day one, the Jamaican team was a clear last place. Come day two and they’d managed to move themselves up to 8th. It was the final outing that made heroes of the Jamaican team.

As the sledge flipped over, the team of four refused to be beaten. They picked up the sledge and carried it over the finish line. This saw applause from competitors and audiences alike.

What can we expect in Beijing?

Things are a little different in 2022. Jamaica is now an accepted part of the Winter Olympics, and the new team needs to go several steps further if it wants to make history. The challenge facing Matthew Wekpe, Nimroy Turgott, Ashley Watson, and Shanwayne Stephens is to go beyond simply reminding the world of what happened in 1988.

We’ll leave the final word with Harris: “I’m over the moon about the fact that Jamaica has qualified. I’m really proud of the guys. It’s just amazing that they are continuing the legacy”

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