The story of the Jamaican bobsled team

The story of the Jamaican bobsled team

You've probably visited Mystic Mountain in Ocho Rios and tried the world-famous bobsled ride.

But how much of its history do you really know?

Just in case you didn't know, Jamaica's relationship with the athletic competition of bobsled started more than 30 years ago.

The Jamaican four-man bobsled team debuted to the surprise of the entire world at the 1988 Winter Olympics in Calgary, Alberta.

There they quickly became a fan favorite largely because of their status position as the ultimate 'underdog' story.

Also, many spoke about the novelty of having a tropical country compete in a cold-weather sport.

They did not officially finish after losing control of the sled and crashing during one of their four runs. 

Jamaica's first Bobsled team inspires Disney movie

This team was the inspiration for a major motion picture, Cool Runnings featuring John Candy as the team's coach. The characters in the film are fictional, although the original footage of the crash is used during the film.

The film's depiction of the post-crash rescue was changed to show the bobsledders carrying the sled over the line on their shoulders for dramatic effect.

The team returned to the Olympics in the 1992 Winter Olympics in Albertville, France, but finished poorly. They qualified again for the 1994 Winter Olympics in Lillehammer, Norway.

There, the Jamaican four-sled team stunned many of their critics by finishing in 14th place, ahead of the United States, Russia, Australia, France, and one sled from Italy.

The team returned to the Winter Olympics again in 1998, 2002, and 2014.

In 2000, the Jamaican bobsled team won the gold medal at the World Push Championships in Monaco.

The forefathers of Jamaica's international athletics status

The Jamaican bobsled team were pioneers in pushing Jamaica’s athletic presence in the world beyond their established prowess in Track & Field Events.

Even more so in sporting fields normally never having seen a contender from the Caribbean.

Today there are Jamaicans competing proudly under their flag in gymnastics, kayaking, fencing, martial arts, lacrosse, rugby, golf, cricket, football, tennis, and more.

We even have a Jamaican contender in the famous Trail Dog Sledding races over snow and ice like the 1,100-mile Iditarod and Yukon Quest.

Now you will have a different look at the bbobsled monuments and rides at theme parks and hotels in Jamaica.