Jamaica to compete in three bobsled events at Beijing Olympics

The Jamaican bobsled team is again making Winter Olympics history.

For the first time ever, the Caribbean nation is competing in three bobsled events -- the four-man and two-man bobsled events and the women's monobob competition. At the Beijing Games, the monobob, a female-only, individual event, is making its Winter Olympics debut.

Jamaica's men's four-man bobsled team made its debut in the 1988 Winter Olympics in Calgary and inspired the 1993 Disney movie "Cool Runnings." [The Walt Disney Co. is the parent company of ESPN.]

"It will be fire on ice," Team Jamaica tweeted upon qualifying.

In a news conference announcing the teams' qualifying, reported by the Jamaica Observer, Jamaica's minister of culture, gender, entertainment and sport, Olivia Grange, said, "this generation -- and others to come -- will look up to [the bobsled teams] and be inspired by you because of your unlikely presence at the Winter Olympics representing a tropical country and doing well."

At least one Jamaican men's bobsled team competed in every Olympics from 1988 through 2002, then not again until the 2014 Games in Pyeongchang, South Korea. However, the four-man team is returning to the Olympic Games for the first time since the 1998 Games in Nagano, Japan. The team's best finish came in 2014, when it finished 14th.

"We've put in a lot of hard work the last four years to achieve what we've achieved," Shanwayne Stephens said in an interview on NBC's "Today" show.

The country has not announced the teams yet, but Stephens is expected to pilot the four-man team and Nimroy Turgott is expected to be the brake man. Dudley Stokes, the pilot of Jamaica's 1988 team, was previously Stephens' driver coach.

In 2020, Stephens, a regiment gunner in the Royal Air Force, grabbed the attention of Queen Elizabeth II with his training methods -- pushing a Mini Cooper around the streets of Peterborough, England.

"Well, I suppose that's one way to train," the queen told Stephens in a video chat.