Last updated: January 22. 2014 12:21AM - 446 Views
By Nekesa Mumbi Moody AP Entertainment Writer



Story Tools:

Font Size:

Social Media:

PARK CITY, Utah (AP) — This year’s Sundance Film Festival has featured two former presidential candidates, rap stars, male strippers and rescue dogs. So why not the Jamaican Olympic bobsled team?


The group appeared at the festival on Monday to promote their trip to Sochi for the Olympic Winter Games and seek some much-needed cash. When the team was approved entry this month, Jamaican officials said they didn’t have the money to travel to Russia to compete. Coach Wayne Thomas said some funding has flowed in, but the team is still in need.


“What we really need now is money to buy the equipment, specifically the runners,” Thomas said of the skates attached to the bobsled. “The runners that we are using are very close to illegal right now.”


When asked what the deadline was for the cash, he joked, “Yesterday.”


So the team decided to head to Sundance to raise awareness, hoping that some celebrities with deep pockets might want to contribute.


“We’re here to let people know that we are here and still in need of funding,” Coach Wayne Thomas said, adding jokingly, “And also to see some stars.”


“Only lady stars,” said pilot Winston Watt, as the team broke into laughter.


The athletes have been training since last summer and have been in Evanston, Wyo., for practice in icy conditions.


“Despite being from a tropical country, we don’t think of lots of obstacles,” said Wayne Blackwood, a brakeman. “We stay focused.”


“We just want to go up there and do our best,” said the team’s other brakeman, Marvin Dixon, who will hold the flag for Jamaica during the opening and closing ceremonies.


They don’t see themselves as a novelty act in the Olympics, but real competitors.


“I’m one of the best brakemen in the world right now,” Dixon said matter-of-factly.


Blackwood said they would be comparable to other nations excelling in the bobsled competition if they had better equipment. “That’s what we want, equipment — and we are up there with them,” he said,


The Jamaican delegation has to be in Sochi on Feb. 4. They say they’re not concerned with security despite bombings in Russia last month that left several dead.


They also expressed tolerance for gay athletes, who will compete in Sochi despite last year’s implementation of a law banning homosexual “propaganda” among minors. Russia’s crackdown on gays had led some to call for a boycott of the Games there.


“For me, you is you, I am me. You be yourself, I’ll be myself,” Dixon said.


Comments
comments powered by Disqus



Featured Businesses


Poll



Info Minute



Gas Prices

Xenia Gas Prices provided by GasBuddy.com