On track: Jamaican bobsledders heading to Sochi

Published on NewsOK Modified: January 20, 2014 at 11:48 am •  Published: January 20, 2014
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Get ready, Sochi: The Jamaicans are coming, and they're bringing their bobsled again.

Jamaican bobsled pilot Winston Watts and the nation's Olympic Committee said Monday they are accepting an invitation to compete in next month's Sochi Olympics.

It's the first time the Jamaican bobsled team will compete in the games since 2002. The invitation comes after Watts accumulated enough points in lower-tier races in North America to qualify.

"Oh, man, it's really overwhelming," Watts said in a telephone interview Monday. "I'm really happy. I have the whole entire world behind us. The Jamaica bobsled team is very popular, but when I see and hear that the whole entire world, even the Middle East — I mean, really, there's a place in the Middle East that calls me and I don't even know its name — we have fans from so far away. For a little tiny island, it's so emotional."

Watts said in an earlier interview Saturday with The Associated Press that the team had qualified, but was unsure about its ability to participate because of funding. He estimated he needed up to $80,000 to make the Olympic trip.

Much of that concern went away Monday, when Jamaican Olympic officials said they and the Sochi Organizing Committee would cover all travel costs for the team. Watts said he is still doing additional fundraising for equipment, such as different kinds of runners for the sled. Teams typically have several different sets of runners to choose from, depending on ice conditions.

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