Beijing Olympics 2022
JM | Jan 17, 2022

Jamaican Olympic bobsled athlete Rolando Reid hopes to inspire a new generation

/ Our Today

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Members of Jamaica’s four-man bobsleigh team: (from left) Matthew Wilson, Shanwayne Stephens, Rolando Reid and Ashley Watson officially starting their bid to qualify for the Beijing Winter Games at Lake Placid in September 2021. (Photo: Instagram @teamssjb)

It’s official! For the first time since it first competed in Calgary in 1988, Jamaica has qualified three teams for the Winter Olympic Games.

As of Sunday (January 16), Jamaica has qualified a four-man bobsled, a two-man bobsled and a female monobob team for the Games that are set to begin in Beijing, China next month. The two-woman bobsled that was on the verge of qualifying just missed out but can still make the trip to China if one of the qualified teams withdraws.

The achievement has lifted the spirits of brakeman Rolando Reid, who revealed that there were some significant challenges in the final days awaiting confirmation of the four-man team’s spot in China.

“We had some mishaps towards the end. We were trying to get entered into a couple of the World Cup races in Europe however, visa issues, and the pilot got COVID so we were not able to enter the World Cup races (that were scheduled for January 15 and 16),” he explained.

“So, we were really just playing a waiting game to see if anyone would have passed us and bumped us out of a qualification spot.”

Now that the qualification spots have been confirmed, Reid, who quit his job as a teacher to pursue his Olympic dream, said the focus is now on preparing for the Games.

Turning 29 next Thursday, Reid contended that the members of the team are in training, trying to stay sharp because they want to raise eyebrows in China come next month.

Team Jamaica competing at the IBSF Bobsleigh & Skeleton North America’s Cup in Park City, Utah in November 2021. The Jamaican quartet after three runs finished fifth, shoring up hopes of a possible Olympic berth. (Photo: Instagram @jamboshan)

“A lot of people look at Jamaica bobsled as a movie or one of those Disney kind of things but we are going to try and make a statement. We are going to try and make it a historic finish as well. So, we are working hard in our time off so we can actually turn some heads at the Games,” he said.

He said he is chuffed to be a part of Jamaica’s sporting history.

“It’s really good to be a part of this team, to carry on the legacy,” he said referring to the 1988 team that inspired the Disney movie Cool Runnings in 1993 that inspired this current team that he hopes will inspire others.
“We have carried on that particular baton and hopefully there will be another set of athletes to take up from us, but we are going to try and lay it down as best as possible and give them something to work with,” Reid beamed.

He and his team members, he said, have sacrificed much to be where they are today but in the end it has been worth it.

“A lot of us have sacrificed a lot of time with family, our jobs, individual time. One of our members (Jazmine Fenlator-Victorian) lost her sister in the process and we are still focused on representing the country; a lot has been sacrificed,” he said.

Jazmine Fenlator-Victorian. (Photo: Facebook @JBSFED)

He continues to hold out hope that the two-woman bobsled will qualify as brakewoman Audra Segree, who sacrificed her individual event, the skeleton, to be a part of the two-woman bobsled team deserves to qualify for her second Winter Olympics.

“I am just looking for everyone to make it to the Games,” he posited optimistically.

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