Winter Olympics: Could we see a Cool Runnings sequel?

By Marc HigginsonBBC Sport
The 1988 Jamaican bobsleigh team who inspired the movie Cool Runnings
The 1988 Jamaican bobsleigh team who inspired the movie Cool Runnings

Jamaica's triumph and subsequent turmoil en route to this year's Winter Olympics bobsleigh competition has drawn parallels to the hit movie Cool Runnings.

The 1993 comedyexternal-link chronicles - with a slice of artistic licence - Jamaica's 1988 bobsleigh team, who captivated millions during their appearance at that year's Winter Games in Calgary, Canada.

And it's easy to see why people are making comparisons 30 years on, before the Caribbean nation's women's team make their debut at the Pyeongchang Games.

So, let's cut to the chase: has the 2018 Winter Olympics thrown up a plot for Cool Runnings II?

Why a sequel 'could' be in the running...

1. The underdog story

Hollywood scriptwriters, cinemagoers and sports fans have at least one thing in common: they love an underdog story. And, more often than not, a sequel.

And in Jamaica's latest bobsleigh representatives - Jazmine Fenlator-Victorian and Carrie Russell - they have the basis for both.

Fenlator-Victorian and Russell will become the first women to represent Jamaica in the bobsleigh competition at the Winters having made huge strides in recent years, including a seventh-place finish in a World Cup race in December.

They will do so having overcome some hefty bumps in the road, too.

Jazmine Fenlator-Victorian and Carrie Russell carry the hopes of Jamaica in this year's Olympics
Jazmine Fenlator-Victorian, left, and Carrie Russell carry the hopes of Jamaica in this year's Winter Olympics

2. The sled

The biggest and most high-profile of those setbacks centres on their sled which, like it was in the original film, has been borrowed.

First it was hired via their now former coach Sandra Kiriasis but subsequently is being lent through support from their local beer firm, Red Stripe, after Kiriasis left her role and withdrew use of the initial vehicle she says she was responsible for.

3. Coaching turmoil

Some will also recall coaching turmoil in the film. That was fictional but, in reality, this 2018 Jamaican team is in disarray after Kiriasis was moved aside in acrimonious circumstances.

Kiriasis' coaching replacement? Dudley Stokes, who was a part of the 1988 team. The man who instigated the change? Dudley's brother Chris, who was also a key - albeit late replacement - member of the 'Calgary Four'.

Why a sequel could hit the buffers...

Unfortunately there are some major differences, too.

While the 1988 team - Devon Harris, the Stokes brothers, Michael White, Samuel Clayton - was far from professional and made up of members of the military and a civilian, both Fenlator-Victorian and Russell have successful sporting backgrounds.

Fenlator-Victorian was one of three pilots in the United States' 2014 Winter Olympics bobsleigh squad before switching allegiance, while Russell won a gold medal in the World Athletics Championships in 2013.

Neither has ever had to resort to practising on a makeshift sled on wheels on an army base, like the crop of 1988 did.

Nor have they had to fight for recognition from authorities and the media.

So what happens now?

The actual sporting contest the Jamaican team arrived for, hopefully - Fenlator-Victorian and Russell begin their tilt at glory on Tuesday.

That is, of course, assuming they avoid any further mishaps in training over the weekend, and that their new sled is up and running in good time.

What they could certainly do with avoiding are the injuries and crashes which hampered the efforts of their male counterparts in 1988.

Then we really would be in Cool Runnings II territory...

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