In 1988, the World scratched it’s head in wonder. A Jamaican bobsled team in the Winter Olympics? But it doesn’t snow in Jamaica! The original team of four became the stuff of legend; there was even a Disney movie, Cool Runnings, about them. We’ve seen successive bobsled teams over the years. Since 2007 we’ve also followed Damion Robb, Newton Marshall and our very own dogsled team take on the Arctic in some of the world’s most arduous sled dog races. Last November, Kim-Marie Spence took part in the Kaspersky Commonwealth Expedition to the South Pole.
The 2010 Winter Olympics start today so what can we expect? The current bobsled team unfortunately did not qualify so there will be no Jamaicans this time. Wrong! Enter Errol Kerr.
Errol was born in 1986 to a father from Westmoreland, Jamaica and a mother from California, USA. He fell in love with skiing at the age of eleven and by seventeen took part in the 2003-2004 Junior Olympics where he placed second in two events. Over the last seven years he has done quite well skiing for the US Team.
Then came the chance that every athlete dreams of: the Olympic Trials. Errol made his decision, if he was going to the Olympics; he was doing it for his late father and Jamaica! He went to the trials and qualified but things were touch and go for a while. Big sponsors are tripping over each other to throw money at our track superstars but our potential ski champ was having trouble finding sponsors. It costs the average professional skier roughly US$100,000 (J$8,900,000) per year for training and to take part in the requisite events. Errol has had sponsorship for only about half but, despite this, his ranking has slowly climbed from fifty-third to fifth. Then, at almost the last minute, the Jamaican Government stepped in and what seems to be the obvious local sponsor came on board: Cool Runnings Spring Water!
So friends, tune in tonight for the Opening Ceremony and watch the new kid on the block carry our flag, then again on the 21st to watch him compete. Good luck, Errol, the whole country is rooting for you!