Cool runnings

Wasn’t that a great movie? And isn’t it wonderful to see that Jamaica is sending a bobsled team to the Olympics – helped out by Sandals resorts who are covering travel costs and other assistance to make sure the team can compete.

The film aired in 1993 and at that time I was living in Swaziland, Southern Africa. On a trip to the big city of Durban we took our boys (then aged 4 and 8) to see the movie. They loved it. The following year we told them the news that we were moving to Canada and were going to live in Calgary. “Where’s that?” they asked. “Do you remember Cool Runnings?” I asked. “Well that’s where we are going.” They were so excited. They jumped up and down talking non stop and shouting….

 “Feel the Rhythm! Feel the Rhyme! Get on up, it’s bobsled time! Cool Runnings!

So sad today to see that Ranchmans closed down – and then someone stole the iconic bobsled sticking out the side of the building. Everyone was upset including Devon Harris, one of the original team, who urged the thief to return the bobsled.

As far as I know the sled has not been returned

The current Jamaican bobsled team competing in Beijing is led by team manager Nelson Christian “Chris” Stokes, who has been an active member of the Jamaica Bobsleigh Team since its inception in 1988, and was part of the Olympic team who inspired the ever-popular 1993 film Cool Runnings. For Stokes, who also serves as President and Chairman of the Jamaica Bobsleigh Federation, Sandals’ sponsorship is a full-circle moment, having started out as a Sandals Resorts team member at Sandals Montego Bay in the mid 1980s.

Chris is quick to point out that he never had the dreadlocks that Sanka sported in the film but he was in fact a last minute replacement to the team.

The famous Sanka from Cool Runnings
Chris Stokes today

I was also interested to read that Chris Stokes was what they call a Team Member at the Sandals Montego Bay. Sandals has such an interesting history – In 1981 Gordon “Butch” Stewart purchased an old hotel (the Bay Roc hotel) on one of Montego Bay’s largest beaches, despite having no hotel experience and opened it as Sandals Montego Bay. In 1984 he launched the first swim up bar in the Caribbean at this hotel. He was certainly a man of vision but I have mixed views about swim up bars. The do look rather gorgeous but if you just hang around in your lounger next to the pool you will notice that there are some people who just sit at the bar for God knows how long, having drink after drink. Well, it is an all-inclusive isn’t it. But they never get up to go to the loo. Just sayin’ …..

By Lesley Keyter

Lesley Keyter is the face of travel in the fast growing city of Calgary. Every week since 1997 she has has featured live on the Morning News Global TV.

6 comments

  1. Great movie, I actually was in the movie mainly due to the fact that they were hiring extras and being a volunteer with the 1988 Olympics had my full uniform. Actually didn’t wear my uniform as I ended up wearing western duds whereupon I line danced for 12 hours in Ranchmans. Another scene was walking up and down the road at Canada Olympic park which was exhausting while the Jamaicans drove past with your bobsleigh. How many takes just to get those shots …. All I can say that making movies there is a lot of waiting and sitting around, did get to make some new friends.

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    1. Oh my goodness, I remember that line dance scene. Yes I have heard from others who have done work as extras that it is pretty exhausting and they keep doing the same thing over and over. How exciting – I would have loved to have been here during 88. The atmosphere must have been amazing. Thanks for sharing.

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