In 1988, the world witnessed Jamaica proudly represent their nation in bobsledding at the Winter Olympics in Calgary, Alberta. An iconic step to becoming the first Afro-Caribbean bobsledding representation at a Winter Olympics in history. The 1988 Jamaican bobsled was made up of Dudley Stokes, Devon Harris, Michael White, Freddy Powell and Chris Stokes.
The actions of these men lead to them being the inspiration behind the making of Cool Runnings. A film that truly transcended cultural boundaries and generation gaps. I witnessed countless faces of people I spoke with light up as they reflect on their fond memories of watching the 1993 fictional film.
Cool Runnings was my introduction to the existence of winter sports; as I'm sure is the case for many others and is the reason I was open to trying snowboarding. I replay iconic moments and quotes like:
"Sanka, ya dead?! Yeah man"
"Feel the Rhythm! Feel the Rhyme! Get on up, it's bobsled time! Cool Runnings!"
The team crashing out of the race but proudly carrying the bobsled over their heads. And, last but not least, scenes of Sanka kissing his lucky egg.
Therefore; 20+ years later, why is it still largely considered culturally taboo for people of Pan-African heritage to participate in winter sports? In 2017, I'm still left wondering why this is still the case.
However; it's clear to see that Seun Adigun, Akioma Omeoga and Ngozi Onwumere didn't get the memo! The female Nigerian bobsled team embark on making history by qualifying for the 2018 Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, South Korea.
I'm sure you're thinking... Cool Runnings 2 sequel, maybe?!
The ladies will be the first African country representation for bobsledding at a Winter Olympics. Their journey and story can be followed via their Instagram page @bsfnigeria. 30 years after 1988 in Pyeongchang, South Korea they will look to embark on a similar journey to that of the 1988 Jamaican bobsled team.
What can we learn from the 1988 Jamaican and 2018 Nigerian bobsled teams?
ANYTHING is possible and the only boundaries in life are those we set for ourselves! People are have defied the odds in other sports such as; football, rugby, Formula1, tennis, golf and more.
Be Defaint.. Become the Norm!
Written by Dazzle