Quantcast
Get breaking news alerts via email

Click here to manage your alerts
Winston Watts, the driver for JAM-1 of Jamaica, speaks on the phone after arriving at the sliding center during a training session for the men's two-man bobsled at the 2014 Winter Olympics, Wednesday, Feb. 5, 2014, in Krasnaya Polyana, Russia. Watts and his team were unable to practice because the Jamaican team equipment and luggage did not arrive in Sochi. (AP Photo/Natacha Pisarenko)
Jamaican bobsledders made it to Russia, but key equipment didn’t
First Published Feb 05 2014 08:05 am • Last Updated Feb 07 2014 04:50 pm

Krasnaya Polyana, Russia • Jamaica’s beloved bobsled team had to raise money just to get to Russia.

Now they’ve arrived at the Sochi Games — but without their equipment.

Join the Discussion
Post a Comment

The carefree Jamaicans were unable to make their first practice runs Wednesday because their luggage, with the runners for their two-man sled as well as all their sliding gear, was missing.

"The sled is here," driver Winston Watts said. "But the blades that we put our heart out to get, the airline maybe left them back in New York. None of us have clothing."

Watts said he and brakeman Marvin Dixon missed their connecting flight in Moscow after being delayed by bad weather in New York. While other competitors got in unofficial training runs on the Sanki Sliding Center track, Watts was on the phone trying to find out what to do next.

If the runners, helmets and sliding suits don’t arrive by Thursday, Watts said the team will borrow from other teams so it can practice.

"I do have a backup plan," Watts said, trying to make light of a "frustrating" situation. "We do have a lot of guys here that want to help us, so I’m excited to see what’s going to be the outcome tomorrow."

This isn’t the first hurdle for Jamaica in returning to the Olympics for the first time since 2002. After qualifying for Sochi, the team didn’t have enough money to fund the trip and needed $80,000. With help from donations from around the world, they raised $120,000 in two days.

The 46-year-old Watts, who came out of retirement earlier this season, said he had no choice but to ask for financial support.

"I didn’t have any more money to spend so I decided I would turn to my fans and friends and that’s why we put out that bulletin so we could achieve some funding," he said.


story continues below
story continues below

Until his luggage is found and delivered, Watts doesn’t have any clothes other than the track suit and yellow baseball cap he wore to the track.

Still, he managed to keep smiling, refusing to let the inconvenience ruin his mood.

"There’s no such word to explain how I felt being here," he said. "The atmosphere, the fans, the friends. It’s pretty exciting. We are the most lovingest people, so every moment is always positive. We always keep smiling. That is our motto."



Copyright 2014 The Salt Lake Tribune. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Top Reader Comments Read All Comments Post a Comment
Click here to read all comments   Click here to post a comment


About Reader Comments


Reader comments on sltrib.com are the opinions of the writer, not The Salt Lake Tribune. We will delete comments containing obscenities, personal attacks and inappropriate or offensive remarks. Flagrant or repeat violators will be banned. If you see an objectionable comment, please alert us by clicking the arrow on the upper right side of the comment and selecting "Flag comment as inappropriate". If you've recently registered with Disqus or aren't seeing your comments immediately, you may need to verify your email address. To do so, visit disqus.com/account.
See more about comments here.
Staying Connected
Videos
Jobs
Contests and Promotions
  • Search Obituaries
  • Place an Obituary

  • Search Cars
  • Search Homes
  • Search Jobs
  • Search Marketplace
  • Search Legal Notices

  • Other Services
  • Advertise With Us
  • Subscribe to the Newspaper
  • Access your e-Edition
  • Frequently Asked Questions
  • Contact a newsroom staff member
  • Access the Trib Archives
  • Privacy Policy
  • Missing your paper? Need to place your paper on vacation hold? For this and any other subscription related needs, click here or call 801.204.6100.