Friday, February 21, 2014
Watching the Jamaican Bobsled Team at the Sochi 2014 Olympics conjures up memories of the classic '90s movie, Cool Runnings for a lot of people. Based on the storied 1988 Jamaican Bobsled Team that managed to capture global attention, you can't make up a crazier and more inspiring tale. Seeing the two-man team reminded me of my own precarious bobsled run down Mystic Mountain in Ocho Rios, Jamaica.
Tucked into the lush rain forest, the Bobsled at Mystic Mountain captures stunning tropical vistas as well as the nerve-jangling bobsled experience. An exhibit with the famous Jamaican bobsled uniform and stats on the original team's history fill a corner before you arrive at the bobsled.
Before hopping on, I was greeted with the ominous sign above. There seemed to be lots of conditions and precautions for what I thought was a straightforward ride. Turns out that the bobsleds are actually a sports installation, developed to operate like a real bobsled. That means that the contraption works with gravity and is equipped with brakes. Brakes. So, you know, you can stop it as it speeds down the mountain. I was tempted to turn around but Ocho Rios is a long way from Chicago. I stepped in and was instructed on how to use the brakes. As the sled twisted and winded down the mountain, I kept the brakes on the entire time and it still whizzed along pretty fast.
I was rewarded with serene views like the one above. Flying down a tropical mountain appears to be much easier than tearing down an icy hill but that's just my perspective. Even though the 2014 Jamaican Bobsled Team finished 29 out of 30 teams, they continue to maintain cult hero status. The video for their official theme song below demonstrates just why Jamaica always wins, on some level.