As Jamaica’s bobsleigh team looks ahead to qualification for the XXI Winter Olympics in Vancouver, British Columbia, February 12-28, 2010, three team members along with their coach are currently in Lake Placid getting ready for the season ending America’s Cup race. The America’s Cup is one of the qualifying events ahead of next year’s Olympics.
Jamaica will be represented in the 2-man race by Hannukkah Wallace, driver and Marvin Dixon, brakeman on Wednesday, April 1 and Thursday, April 2. Both Wallace and Dixon have been members of Jamaica’s team since May 2007.
The Jamaican team, co-sponsored by the national carrier Air Jamaica, has been in Lake Placid for the last two weeks putting the final touches on preparations for the final race on the America’s Cup tour. While in Lake Placid, the team participated in a variety of training programs, conducted by top instructors drawn from across the United States, Canada and the United Kingdom.
Jamaica’s contingent is completed by Joe Alexander, brakeman who joined the team in May 2008 and Wayne Thomas, coach, who was a member of Jamaica’s 4-man team to the 1994 Winter Olympics in Lillehammer, Norway. It was in Norway that Jamaica stunned the world by finishing 14th ahead of traditional powerhouses the United States, Russia, France and Italy.
Jamaica first came to prominence in this sport following its debut in the 4-man event at the 1988 Winter Olympics in Calgary, Alberta, where although not finishing, they became a fan favorite due to the novelty of having a warm weather destination compete in a cold weather discipline. Such was the team’s outstanding performance at the Games, that is inspired the major motion picture Cool Runnings.
According to Jamaica’s Director of Tourism John Lynch, “Jamaica’s performance in the sport over the years has been nothing short of remarkable and it is our hope that they will continue to serve as great ambassadors for the destination, highlighting some of the unique and extraordinary features which make us a favorite among persons looking for a vacation option.” Jamaica has also made strides in other cold weather sports including dog sled.