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Bobsled trials at GC Foster next Saturday
Howard Walker, Staff Reporter
THE JAMAICA Bobsled Federation (JBF) will be conducting a one-day trial at the G.C. Foster College to select future bobsledders for training.
Dudley Stokes, president of the JBF, told The Gleaner that his federation is looking to groom athletes to continue Jamaica's fairytale-run in the winter sport.
The one-day trial will take place at G.C. Foster on July 29, starting at 7:00 a.m., and depending on the number of people it could be two to three hours.
"The trials is to select athletes for the next generation of bobsledders. We are going to have training for them to start learning the sport this summer," said Stokes, who, along with his brother Chris, was a member of the trendsetting 1988 team at the Calgary Olympics, which finished more than halfway up the standings.
"We are hoping to get between four and five quality athletes," said the president, while stressing that they are in a transition mode at the moment.
"We are most definitely in a rebuilding stage. Most of them (athletes) have moved on, they have aged, the difficulties of the sport and some have their lives to pursue," explained Stokes.
STRENGTH AND SPEED
The federation will be looking for very athletic persons and the trial will be basically a test of strength and speed.
"They will be doing sprints, long jumps, hops, explosive lifts, snatch and pushing of our cart out there. We are looking for some very athletics persons," said Stokes.
Bobsleigh is a winter sport in which teams make timed runs down narrow, twisting, banked, iced tracks in a gravity-powered sled.
Eighteen years ago, the first Jamaican bobsleigh team made history by participating at the 1988 Calgary Olympics Winter Games in Canada.
The bobsledders from the tropical island warmed the hearts of many worldwide in their first attempt at Olympic glory and were even immortalised in the popular Walt Disney movie Cool Runnings.
Since then, the team has been involved in the Winter Olympics and now the members have their eyes focused on bringing back a medal to Jamaica.
At their first Games (1988), the team was seen as a novelty as they had many technically difficulties, injuries and crashes.
On their second outing (1992) the team had drastically improved. They had practised hard for four years and were confident and focused. The four-man team came in 14th ahead of the United States, French, Russian and Italians teams.
This was just the beginning. In the two-man event the Jamaican team shocked the world by beating the Swedish champions and finishing in 10th place.
The team continued to improve and in 2000 took gold at the World Push Championships in Monte Carlo in three events and posting the fastest start time at the World Cup.