The Jamaica Bobsled Team won no medals in Sochi for the 2014 Winter Olympics. Their final rank for their only entry at the Olympics, the Two-Man Bobsled event, came in 27 out of 28. Meanwhile their official 'Bobsled Song' racked up over 1.5 million views on Youtube.
For having no snow in Jamaica, their times were not far behind countries which do have annual snow, but they were not fast enough to make to the finals, at least not this year. The Four-Man team finished as high as 14th place in 1996. On the last day of the Sochi Games, the gold medal was awarded to Russia, silver to Switzerland, with Team USA claiming the bronze.6.
Jamaican-born Lascelles Brown finished finished 9th in the Four-Man Bobsled event on February 23. Claims that no Jamaican has medaled in the Winter Games are untrue. After being the brakeman for Winston Watt in 2002 at the Salt Lake City Games, Brown married his Canadian girlfriend and moved to Canada. With the Canadian team, Brown won a silver medal at the 2006 Torino Games with the 2 man team, and a bronze at the 2010 Vancouver Games with the 4 man team.
"I promised to slide today faster than yesterday," Winston Watts said after the third run in which Team Jamaica was eliminated. "And we did so. Unfortunately it was not enough to go further. Hopefully, we sent a message to the smaller countries, you don't need snow to do bobsleigh. You don't need snow to do winter sports."
Winston Watts came out of retirement to help Jamaica qualify for the Winter Games. In his 40s, he is among the oldest Olympians at Sochi. Marvin Dixon competes in the Olympics for the first time in his 30s. The team faced constant troubles, yet they overcame everything with a smile. They came to conquer a different way, perhaps. Without medals, they inspire. And they know how to have fun.
They have their own music video and theme song for the 2014 Olympics called, 'The Bobsled Song.' The official video was pulled from Youtube by the IOC, but luckily it's been posted elsewhere. The Jamaica Bobsled Team actually have several other songs about them from their1988 premiere, at least 6.
Making light of their financial struggles, the team appeared on Jimmy Kimmel Live in Los Angeles before the Games. Winston and Watts dressed in Girl Scout uniforms, pretending to sell cookies on Hollywood Boulevard to raise money box by box for their trip to Sochi. Jimmy Kimmel Live posted a video on Youtube.
Hearing about their fundraising difficulties, Samsung sponsored the Jamaican team in an storyboarded advertisement about children styled after Usain Bolt and Marvin Dixon making their Olympic dreams come true. It featured a song by Skull called, 'Keep On Pushing.' Samsung further featured a short documentary styled series. Crowd-sourcing provided an additional push.
In a press conference held by Samsung in Sochi, Russia on February 22, Watts stated, "We're happy that we brought so much light, so much joy, so much love to the Sochi Olympics. It doesn't matter if we came 29th or we won an Olympic medal, we're still a winner." Dixon added, "It doesn't matter where you finish, as long as we compete. We compete and we have fun. That's it."
They wore bold watermelon helmets to guard their melons during their runs. Perhaps they were making light of their premiere in 1988 at the Calgary Games when their 4 man bobsleigh turned over. The team's fiberglass helmets melted from friction on the ice. The crowd responded by applauding their efforts to have a team in their first Olympics.
Winston Watts walked out of Sochi with the most quotable quote on everyone's lips and on Twitter. "If you really have a goal, you just have to set yourself forward to that goal. You can't afford to let anything come in your way." And that's what makes the Jamaica Bobsled Team the real winners. They keep trying.