Jamaica to miss 2010 Winter Games

CLICK HERE TO SEE A PHOTO OF THE ORIGINAL JAMAICAN BOBSLED TEAM

The following is an excerpt from an article posted at NBCOlympics.com:

Jamaica’s bid to have its bobsled team compete in this month’s Olympics has come up short.

The list of nations who qualified and entered bobsled events at the Vancouver Games, obtained Wednesday by The Associated Press, failed to include Jamaica – which had spent the last few weeks hoping that a slot opened in the field.
Those hopes were dashed, and on Wednesday, the Jamaicans acknowledged that all chance for 2010 was gone.

“We’ve been in battles for many, many years,” Chris Stokes, a founding member of the Jamaican bobsled team more than 20 years ago, told The AP in a phone interview. “This is one more. But it’s disappointing, no question about that. The guys worked really hard and did well. Not qualifying, it’s by no means a failure. It’s a step going forward.”

Officials from the Vancouver organizing committee are in the process of certifying those entries. There remains a chance more nations could be added, but for that to happen a sled that has entered must drop out.

The Jamaicans say 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.

They knew they were long shots to get into the Vancouver Games, but still, the notion of another team from the tiny island nation competing in these Olympics – 22 years after the first Jamaican sled raced in the Calgary Games and sparked the idea for the movie “Cool Runnings” – was enough to create a buzz.

Poorly funded and often racing with substandard equipment, the Jamaicans and driver Hannukkah Wallace managed to just sneak into the world top 50 rankings in four-man sliding, giving the chance of a Vancouver berth life.

In the end, they needed to be a few spots higher.

“If we have to be the last small nation, then so be it,” Stokes said. “We’ll keep the fight.”

Wallace has said he wasn’t sure if he’ll stay with bobsledding, return to his roots in track, or possibly both. It’s not uncommon for bobsledders to take some time off, especially early in a new four-year Olympic cycle.

Stokes said he believes Wallace will try to return and lead the team again.

Click here to read the entire article.

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