Jamaican Bob Sleigh Team Revive The Spirit Of ‘88
02/14/2014 by Markus Hautmann
With the Sochi 2014 Winter Olympic Games underway, Team Jamaica has replaced the warmth of the Caribbean for one of the coldest countries to compete in the Two-Man Bob. The Jamaican duo are hoping to call upon the spirit of 1988, when the Jamaica team endeared themselves to the sporting world with some highly unexpected and impressively quick times down the track.
The 2014 Jamaica Two-Man Bob Team comprises of Driver Winston Watts, a 46-year-old Olympic veteran who competed in the ’94, ’98 and ’02 Games; and Brakeman Marvin Dixon, a 31-year old Olympic first-timer and former sprinter. The world will be watching as Jamaica competes on the Winter Olympic stage for the first time in 12 years - it’s a special sight seeing islanders in a bob sleigh, but they will bring with them the Jamaican vibe and positive Caribbean attitude.
“Do I like the cold? What do you think? I wish I could put on everything I packed all at once. I just try to imagine being in a warmer place and focus on the competition,” said Driver Winston Watts. “It’s exciting to be here and I just want to do my country proud with a great performance.”
“It’s surreal being here right now for my first Olympics,” said Marvin Dixon. “It’s so unusual for a Caribbean country to take part in the Winter Games but we’re here on merit and I’m excited to get out there and do my best.”
The two-man Bob starts on 16 February at 20:15 GMT+4.
INTERVIEW WITH WINSTON WATTS, DRIVER
What does it mean for you to come here and represent your country?
It means the world to me; it’s so overwhelming for a guy my age to make it this far. I took some time off but then I realized there was more for me out there, this is my calling. I needed to come back.
How do you feel about the cold?
The bobsled is both a mental and a physical sport. You really need to gear yourself up for the cold no matter where you come from. I feel that it’s easier to adapt to winter sports than summer, though. You can put on as many clothes as possible for winter sports but for the summer there is only so much you can take off.
How did you get into Competing in the Bob, isn’t it an unusual choice for a Jamaican?
I spent 15 years in the military and after I retired I went to driving school. There were so many physical tests to make the team and I came out on top because of my military training. Once I had made the team, I thought ‘this is something I can do.’
What does it take to be good at Bob Sleigh?
We are truly gifted here in Jamaica; we even have the Fastest Man in the World. We have to use our gifts in a positive way. It’s also a pretty natural transition for track and field athletes to go into the bobsled and we breed track and field athletes here.
Where have you been undertaking your preparations, in Jamaica or elsewhere?
We do all of our training off the ice in Jamaica, mainly at GC Foster College. We’ll push a sled 50 meters over and over and we’ll do a lot of on track training. You really need to combine strength and speed for the bobsled so not only are we running for speed when we train, but we run with heavy weights. On the ice we do a lot of our training in places like Salt Lake City, Utah in the US.
What would consider to be a good result for you guys here?
We don’t like to brag; we can only say we’re going to do our best.
What do Jamaicans bring to Winter Competition?
It’s hard for me to say one thing Jamaicans can bring to Sochi, because there is just so much. Jamaicans bring everything everywhere we go. We’re truly the most loving, caring and fun people here.
What is your favourite thing about Jamaica?
What I love about Jamaica is the beach, the sunshine, the food, the people; when you’re back home in Jamaica and on the streets, everyone says hello no matter who you are. The people are just so loving and caring and that’s why I love it, it will always be home.
Watch how the Jamaican team prepared and trained for Sochi