Winter Olympics Sochi 2014

Winter Olympics Sochi 2014

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Listen: Jamaican Bobsledders Get Soundtrack for Sochi Debut

The underdog team takes their first run in Sochi at 11:15 a.m. ET

By Emily Feldman
|  Sunday, Feb 16, 2014  |  Updated 4:43 AM PDT
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The Jamaica tourism board wanted to give its famous bobsled team one more boost before it takes the Olympic track for the first time in 12 years: a new bobsled song.

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The minute and 30 second jam, created with the assistance of New York marketing firm Draftfcb, is supposed to synch up with the Sochi bobsled track, directing driver Winston Watts (if he were to listen while competing) to go "to the right! to the right!" as the icy course shifts in that direction. 

 
The tourism board even provided a video (above) that shows exactly how that synching might work. "Press play at the exact moment the Jamaica Bobsleigh Team begins their big race on February 16," the site says. "You’ll be amazed." 
The song's sleek marketing contrasts with the bobsledders' very "Cool Runnings" road to Sochi that saw them struggling with some of the same financial problems that plagued the inaugural team.

In 1988, the lack of funding available to the Olympic dreamers forced them to compete in a hand-me-down sled that crashed in one of their Olympic runs — a moment captured in the 1993 "Cool Runnings" film inspired by the unlikely group. This year, veteran driver Winston Watts and newbie Marvin Dixon nearly had to give up their Sochi slot because of financial reasons.

Thanks largely to the team's big screen fame, however, donations poured in from sites like Crowdtilt, Indiegogo and Dogecoins, solving their money woes in a matter of days.

After finally arriving in Sochi the drama continued, however, when some of their luggage failed to arrive. 

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"The sled is here," Watts told The Associated Press last week. "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."

The pair missed their first day of training but their equipment eventually arrived. Just not in the best condition.
 
Watts told Reuters that some protein powder had spilled in their luggage and made its way into unexpected nooks and crannies. "My helmet I was wearing today, I had protein in my eyes."
 
Still the team has come a long way from its “Cool Runnings” days when its pioneer athletes first trained on pushcarts. More than 20 years later, the team has a roster of veterans to look up to with appearances in five Olympic Games.
 
One of the veterans, Watts, 46, will be steering Jamaica's 2-man sled Sunday—a position he first trained for in 1993.
 
In an airport interview with NBC he described himself as the "grandpa" of bobsledding and said the Jamaicans weren't competing again after all these years as some sort of stunt. "I'm not just coming to see what Sochi's like. I'm too old for that."
 
The Sochi Games will mark Watts' fourth Olympic performance. He made his Olympic debut at the 1994 Lillehammer Games, where he steered his team to a respectable 14th place ahead of both the U.S. and Russia. He returned to the games in '98 and '02 and announced his retirement in 2006.
 
Hungry for some more competition, however, Watts came out of retirement in his adopted home of Evanston, Wyo. — the Jamaican bobsledders' longtime training base — to get a team together for Sochi. “When you give up something you really do like, you cannot see it go away from you,” he told NBC's Olympic Talk.  Watts will share the sled with 30-year-old Marvin Dixon, who joined the team in 2007.
 
The team is not expected to make it to the medal podium (Germany is heavily favored), though they are expected to notch respectable times and delight their massive fan base.
 
Since arriving in Sochi the team has enjoyed celebrity status, inspiring wild applause during the Opening Ceremony, participating in dance-offs with fellow bobsledders and attracting shout-outs on location-based dating app Tinder.
 
"All the people here like us," Watts recently told the LA Times. "No, that's not correct. I should say all the people here love us. We are a caring people and we love them too."

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