Jamaican bobsled team hopes for cool runnings despite pandemic-related challenges

Jamaica's two-woman team at the 2018 PyeongChang Olympics. (Usa Today)

Jamaica's bobsled team is determined to overcome financial issues and other challenges presented by the pandemic as their four-man lineup returns to the Winter Games for the first time in 24 years.

The country's bobsledders have been a welcome sight at the Winter Games ever since the nation, known more for its tropical climate, beat the odds to qualify for the 1988 Calgary Olympics. The against-all-odds true story inspired the popular Disney comedy Cool Runnings.

But the 2022 team faced difficulties while preparing for this year's Olympics due to travel restrictions, with members beginning their training together only this past fall.

"We're a bunch of guys who literally came together for the first time on the 18th of September, not by our own fault but the COVID situation and travel restrictions," pilot Shanwayne Stevens said after touching down on Saturday.

"...To achieve what we've achieved in such a short period of time is a testament to the hard work everybody has put in outside of being together.

"Because we knew that what we wanted to do was achieve one goal and everybody put in the work so that when we came together. It was a lot easier for us to sort of gel together and then perform really well."

SEE MORE: Jamaica, you have a bobsled team for the 2022 Winter Olympics! (and an Alpine skier)

Jamaica's four-man team failed to qualify for the 2018 PyeongChang Olympics by just a single spot in the world rankings.

"The pandemic is there, but there's more than just the pandemic. There are financial struggles the team have faced," said brakeman Rolando Reid. "The goal has just been to find a way to survive."

He added: "We have an incredible bunch of guys that just know the goal, and the goal is to get to the Games, perform to the best of our abilities, and be good ambassadors of our country."

Jamaica will also compete in the two-man bobsled and the women's monobob, making it the first time in Olympic history that the country has qualified for three bobsled events.