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Winston Watts, Jamaican Bobsledder: 5 Fast Facts You Need to Know

Winston Watts, Jamaican bobsled team, 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics

Recordbreakin. (Tumblr)

Jamaica is sending a bobsled team to the Olympics for the first time since 2002.

Winston Watts is the bobsled pilot for Jamaica, who was invited to the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi after Watts accrued enough points in lower-tier North American races to qualify, ESPN reported.

Here’s what you need to know about Watts:


1. He Watches ‘Cool Runnings’ All the Time

Winston Watts, Jamaican bobsled team, 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics

Original 1987 Jamaica Boblsed Team via @JamaicaOlympics. (Twitter)

Watts still draws inspiration from the movie Cool Runnings, which hit the box office two decades ago. The 46-year-old admits that he still routinely watches the film, which chronicles the journey of the first Jamaican bobsled team to qualify for the Olympics in 1988.

Watts told TODAY.com:

It’s a movie you cannot get tired of watching. It’s very touching. It’s so emotional. Even up until today I watch that movie like it’s new. It’s just inspirational.

Check out the trailer from the iconic 1993 movie:



2. Watts & Co. Were a Big Hit at the Sundance Film Festival

Watts will compete with brakeman Marvin Dixon in the two-man bob on February 19 and 20. The pair, along with the rest of the Jamaican bobsledders, made a splash by attending the Sundance Film Festival in Park City, Utah, to promote its journey to the Sochi Olympics.

3. Sochi Will Be Watts’ Fourth Olympic Games

Winston Watts, Jamaican bobsled team, 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics

@WWatt4. (Twitter)

Watts will make his fourth Olympic appearance at the Winter Games in Sochi. The bobsledding veteran was a participant in the 1994 (Lillehammer), 1998 (Nagano) and 2002 (Salt Lake City) Winter Olympics.

Watts lives in Evanston, Wyoming and trains on the bobsled track from the 2002 Olympics in Park City, Utah.

Check out Watts’ workout routine as he prepares for the Olympics:



4. Watts Was Initially Concerned About Funding

Winston Watts, Jamaican bobsled team, 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics

(Getty)

Watts was initially concerned that Jamaica wouldn’t be able to provide the funds to send the bobsled team to Sochi to compete.

In truth, we still don’t really know at the moment if we’d even have enough funds or sponsorship to fly to Sochi itself for the Games itself,” Watts told the British newspaper The Telegraph in mid-January. “It all depends. Our families need to be taken care of first. If there’s no funding, who knows?”

According to the New York Times, the Jamaica Olympic Association provides very little funding.

Consequently, Watts and Dixon were forced to do everything they could to raise enough money, including asking for public donations via PayPal.

According to Yahoo! Sports, Watts said he spent £100,000 (121,000 euro/$164,000) of his own money to help defray the costs.


5. Watts Helped Raise Over $120,000 Over 2 Days

Winston Watts, Jamaican bobsled team, 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics

@JamaicaOlympics. (Twitter)

Fortunately, Jamaica Bobsled received more than $120,000 in two days, giving it enough to not only head to Sochi, but also grow the sport inside the country, NBC Sports reported.

Additionally, the Jamaican Olympic Association announced on January 20 that it, along with the Sochi Organizing Committee, would cover all the travel expenses to and from February’s Games.

Watts told NBC Sports:

On behalf of the team we are very happy with the contributions, donations that companies and fans out there contributed to us. This helps us to exceed and get the equipment that we really need over in Sochi so that we can be more competitive along with the rest of the world.”


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