Celebrating last-place finishes at the Olympics. Because they're there, and you're not.

Wednesday, February 22, 2006

The Jamaican Bobsled Team

Any discussion of last-place finishers at the Olympics, particularly at the Winter Olympics, would not be complete without at least mentioning Jamaica's bobsled team, which drew worldwide attention at the Calgary Games in 1988. Along with Eddie "the Eagle" Edwards (who will be the subject of a later post), they were among the high-profile "novelty acts" from those Games that no doubt spurred a tightening of the qualifying rules -- and, by the way, who make a discussion of last-place finishes so problematic: it's hard to say you're celebrating the hard work of last-place finishers to someone who's got Cool Runnings running through their head.

But that's not to knock the team. They did considerably better in subsequent Olympics and other world competitions, beating other countries' more-established teams. It's claimed that Jamaica's strength in the sprinting events in the summer events translates well to bobsledding, where a quick start means a lot. Read more about them at the team's Wikipedia entry and this article on Eurosport.com; there's also this interview with Devon "Pele" Harris, a member of the first bobsled team.

Jamaica isn't at the Torino Games; their bobsled team failed to qualify for the Olympics for the first time since they started.

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