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Jamaican bobsledders without equipment in Russia

Published on NewsOK Modified: February 5, 2014 at 9:00 am •  Published: February 5, 2014
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KRASNAYA POLYANA, Russia (AP) — Jamaica's beloved bobsled team had to raise money just to get to Russia.

Now they've arrived at the Sochi Games — but without their equipment.

The carefree Jamaicans were unable to make their first practice runs Wednesday because their luggage, with the runners for their two-man sled as well as all their sliding gear, was missing.

"The sled is here," driver Winston Watts said. "But the blades that we put our heart out to get, the airline maybe left them back in New York. None of us have clothing."

Watts said he and brakeman Marvin Dixon missed their connecting flight in Moscow after being delayed by bad weather in New York. While other competitors got in unofficial training runs on the Sanki Sliding Center track, Watts was on the phone trying to find out what to do next.

If the runners, helmets and sliding suits don't arrive by Thursday, Watts said the team will borrow from other teams so it can practice.

"I do have a backup plan," Watts said, trying to make light of a "frustrating" situation. "We do have a lot of guys here that want to help us, so I'm excited to see what's going to be the outcome tomorrow."

This isn't the first hurdle for Jamaica in returning to the Olympics for the first time since 2002. After qualifying for Sochi, the team didn't have enough money to fund the trip and needed $80,000. With help from donations from around the world, they raised $120,000 in two days.

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