Cool runnings two
THE Jamaica Olympic Association (JOA) confirmed that it will support the national bobsled team's participation to the Winter Olympic Games to be staged in Sochi, Russia, from February 7-23.
On Sunday, a report in the Jamaica Observer said the two-man team of driver Winston Watts and brakeman Marvin Dixon had qualified for the Sochi Games, but there remained uncertainty of their participation due to funding constraints.
Yesterday, the local Olympic association issued a release to erase any doubt that Jamaica will participate in bobsled event at the Winter Olympics for the first time since 2002 -- a year which saw Watts and Lascelles Brown finishing 28th at the Salt Lake City Games in the United States.
"The Jamaica Olympic Association congratulates our two-man team which has qualified to participate in the Winter Olympic Games.
"The JOA, through its solidarity programme, has given significant financial assistance to the Jamaica Bobsleigh Federation, which has been used to enable the team to qualify for the Sochi 2014 Winter Olympic Games.
"As is customary, all local expenses including accommodation and transportation are met by the organising committee for the Games."
In the statement, the JOA, which is led by President Michael Fennell, did not mention the size of the financial assistance.
However, Watts told The Associated Press that he was trying to raise as much as US$80,000 to cover travel and equipment costs.
Jamaica first qualified for the Winter Olympics in 1988 in Calgary, Canada. The achievement inspired the 1993 Disney film Cool Runnings.
Lack of funding is said to be the major reason Jamaica did not make the 2006 Turin and 2010 Vancouver Games.
Meanwhile, Nelson Christian Stokes, the chef de mission, is scheduled to arrive in Sochi on February 3, while the rest of the contingent follows a day later. The first official event will be the Flag Raising Ceremony in the athletes' village on February 5. The Opening Ceremony of the Games will be held on February 7. The two-man bobsled team competes on February 19 and 20.
Team to the Sochi Games- Winston Watts (driver), Marvin Dixon (crew), Wayne Blackwood (reserve crew), Nelson Christian Stokes (chef de mission), Thomas Samuel (coach).