Cool Runnings 2 for Sochi

Sean Greenwood SkeletonThe Winter Olympics in Sochi get under way in a little over two weeks time and it looks likely that a Jamaican Bobsleigh team will be returning to the Games after an absence of 12 years.

The story of the first team to make it, back in 1988, became one of the most popular sports movies of all time with John Candy playing the coach and the scenes of the final run and the team capturing the belated sport of all their competitors still bringing a tear to the eye to this day.

The story could be relived in more ways than qualification as this has the makings of a revival.  The team has suffered from a chronic lack of funding and to get this far has had to rely on 46 year old driver Winston Watts coming out of retirement and ploughing $160,000 of his own money into the race for qualification.

The team, now cut from four to two to help save money is around $40,000 short of having the money to pay their transportation costs on getting to Russia and also towards buying a back up pair of runners for their sleigh.

A variety of fundraising campaigns have sprung up online, including through Paypal and a number of crowd funding sites but it is also hoped that the Jamaican Olympic Association will pitch in now they have almost certainly secured their qualification for the games.

Ireland will have a presence at the Games, led by Canadian born helicopter pilot Sean Greenwood.  Ranked 37th in the world rankings for Skeleton he has navigated a similar path of training, dreaming and fundraising to make it to the games as he outlined to John O’Brien in a Sunday Independent Sports Feature earlier this month.

He will hope to relive Ireland’s closest brush with Winter Olympic Glory when the exotically named Clifton Hugh Lanceleot de Verdon Wrottesley came fourth at the 2002 Games in the same event.

If you want a sneak preview of the man you may well be cheering yourself hoarse over in a few short weeks, take a look at this qualifying run from a World Cup tournament in Canada last November.  Go Sean!

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