Tuesday, 23 February 2010

Feel the rhythm! Feel the rhyme! Get on up, its bobsled time! COOL RUNNI...Did they Actually Say That Though?

Jamaica Olympic Bobsled team 1988

We now enter Bobsleigh territory in our Winter Olympics season, once again from the Calgary 1988 games. Yes, it's the first ever Jamaican bobsleigh team, a tropical country with no snow/ice whatsoever, that became famed for their glorious failure (which could've turned to tragedy, mind you) which embodied the spirit of "The taking part" under the Olympic banner, not just winning that counts. Of course, the event would be even more well-known after the based 1993 film "Cool Runnings" starring one of my favourite North American actors, Canadian comedy actor John Candy. Anyway, this is perhaps a good time to seperate fact from fiction..later on.

The sport of Bobsleigh (made a winter sport in 1924) is a trecherous, horrendously fast slide down narrow ice chutes that turn and slope, reaching possible speeds of 118 mph. There are 3 divisions of Bobsleigh in the Winter Olympics, the 4-man bob, 2-man bob and 2-woman bob.

First of all, it's annoying to find out, the Jamaican bobsleigh team were not setting the standard before they crashed. No world record pace here. They did though impress, with some fast starts. However, real footage was of the crash was shown on the film "Cool Runnings". The Bobsleigh goes to one side, and one or the men could've broke their neck as the their helmets are hitting the ice as it continues to slide around 2 more turns pretty fast! But they were lucky.

The four men were not accurately portrayed in the film, but they were sprinters, just not Olympic-standard ones, but from the army. However, the idea of a Jamaican Bobsleigh team was inspired by pushcart racers, from which the American backers of a Jamaican team saw. The names of the real Jamaican Bobsleigh team were Devon Harris, Dudley Stokes, Michael White and Samuel Clayton. They had a team of coaches, not just one coach. John Candy's Irving 'Irv' Blitzer was a fictional character, and there was no connection to any cheating scandal, and there was no hot rivalries from other countries. Everyone wanted to see the Jamaicans do well.

They didn't carry the Bobsleigh to the finish line like you see in the clip. Would be too heavy I guess. Instead it slid to the finish line, with the men walking along. But what about some of the catchphrases of the film like "Feel the rhythm! Feel the rhyme! Get on up, its bobsled time! Cool Runnings!" they guys' chant as they begin to dash with the Bobsleigh? What about one of the characters who kissed a lucky egg? Did they sing "Jamaica have a Bobsleigh Team!"? Still unanswered questions, but I think it's likely to be from the film only!

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