“Feel the rhythm, feel the rhyme. Get on up, it’s bobsled time!” Yes, this is really happening after the Jamaican bobsleigh team qualified for the Sochi 2014 Winter Olympics by the skin of their teeth this afternoon.
Bringing their 12-year Winter Olympics absence to an end, driver Winston Watts and breakman Marvin Dixon will race in the two-man bob in Russia after coming in a perilous 39th in qualifying.
The top 30 crews are given a chance to compete in Russia but thanks to the nine nations ahead of Jamaica already having the maximum number of sleds allowed, the Caribbean team will now take their place on the start line at the Games, beginning on 7 February.
But according to Ladbrokes, the duo’s qualification has not improved the 1,000/1 odds on their chances of taking home the gold medal next month. And when it comes to the prospect of recreating the events chronicled in 1993 film Cool Runnings – which famously saw the Jamaican bobsleigh team reach the Olympic final before their rickety sled shattered – the odds are considerably longer.
But while a real-life recurrence of the film is looking unlikely, Jamaica have plenty to celebrate, qualifying for the Winter Olympics for the first time in over a decade – a relief for Watts who revealed he’s spent £100,000 of his own money in a bid to ensure qualification. “It means the world to me,” he told BBC Sport. “I could not fall asleep last night just waiting to hear the news. I had a strong feeling we would get in but you never know.”
Watts had previously competed at the Winter Games in 1994, 1998 and 2002, before retiring for six years and returning to the sport in 2012. He and Dixon have launched a fundraising appeal for Sochi from the general public to help fund their trip to Russia next month.