Sadly, one of the best stories in Olympic history won’t have another chapter written this winter. The Jamaican bobsled team has failed to qualify for this month’s Olympics.
For the last few weeks, the Jamaicans had been hoping that a spot would open in the field. But the list of nations who qualified and entered the bobsled events at the Vancouver Games was obtained by The Associated Press did not include Jamaica. There still is a slim chance the Jamaicans could make it but for that to happen another sled would have to drop out. Team Jamaica is now saying they’re no longer waiting for that to happen.
“I am told there are no other options at this point,” team spokesman Stephen Samuels said.
Without adequate funding or equipment that’s up to the standards of their competition, the Jamaicans actually cracked the world top 50 rankings in the four-man event. By the way, the team’s driver is named Hannukkah Wallace. How awesome is that? Wallace has said he’s not sure if he’ll stick with bobsledding or return to his track roots. He could actually do both if he really wanted.
The Jamaican team debuted at the 1988 Olympics in Calgary, then again made the ’92 and ’94 games. They failed to qualify for the 2006 Olympics in Turin.
The team will stay in Whistler for the Olympics just to get the full Olympic experience.
As for any shot at 2014, the Jamaicans say they are hoping to add more sleds and drivers. They also plan to offer the country’s coaching job to former U.S. bobsled driver Todd Hays, whose career ended after crashing earlier this season. Before retiring, Hays often gave equipment and expertise to the Jamaican federation.
An American coaching the Jamaicans? That sounds … vaguely familiar.