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Jamaica has a 4-man bobsled team heading to the Olympics — the first time in over 2 decades

Millions locked down in China
Country on high alert one month before Winter Olympics 01:41

Jamaica will be back competing in the four-man bobsled at the Winter Olympics for the first time in nearly a quarter century.

Team Jamaica announced Monday that they have qualified for the event and two other bobsled events at the Beijing Games — the two-man bobsled and woman's monobob. It's the first time they've qualified for three bobsled events. 

While Jamaica has yet to announce who will be part of the four-man bobsled team, Shanwayne Stephens, a lance corporal in the Royal Air Force, is expected to be on it. After Jamaica's announcement, Stephens tweeted, "We made it." 

"@Beijing2022 here we come. 24 years since we've had a 4man crew," he tweeted Monday. 

Training for the Beijing Olympics wasn't easy as the pandemic hit and lockdowns closed gyms in England, where some members of the bobsled team had to get creative in May 2020. Stephens told Reuters that they pushed a Mini Cooper down a road to "replicate" the pushing involved in their sport. 

Jamaica bobsleigh members Shanwayne Stephens and Nimroy Turgott train by pushing a Mini Cooper car along the street in England in 2020. Reuters

"We've had people run over, thinking the car's broken down, trying to help us bump-start the car. When we tell them we're the Jamaica bobsleigh team, the direction is totally different, and they're very excited," he told the news outlet. 

Jamaica first made its Winter Olympics debut with its famed four-man bobsled team in 1988 in Calgary, where they gained popularity as an underdog and for not finishing their race. Their historic run inspired the 1993 film, "Cool Runnings." The 2022 Games mark the first Winter Olympics since the death of Sam Clayton Jr., a member of the team. 

Winter Olympics - Calgary 1988 - Four-Man Bobsled - Jamaica
Members of the Jamaican bobsled team at a press conference at the Calgary Olympic Village. From L to R: Freddie Powell, Michael White and Dudley Stokes. S&G/PA Images via Getty Images

The last time Jamaica had a four-man sled team was at the 1998 Winter Olympics in Nagano, Japan. However, they've competed in the two-man bobsled team multiple times, including 1992, 1994, 1998, 2002 and 2014. Jamaica's two-woman bobsled made its first appearance in the 2018 Winter Games in Pyeongchang. 

Bobsleigh - Winter Olympics - Nagano 1998 - Four man
The Jamaican four man Bobsleigh team (Dudley Stokes, Winston Watt, Nelson Stokes and Wayne Thomas) in the final run of the Bobsleigh in Nagano, Japan in 1998.  Tony Marshall/EMPICS via Getty Images

Team Jamaica also announced their first ever alpine skier who will represent them in Beijing. Benjamin Alexander, who is a former DJ, became the first Jamaica skier to qualify for the Winter Olympics in the giant shalom.  

Less than three weeks before the Winter Olympics are set to open, China canceled plans on Monday to sell tickets to the public for the Games, as the number of COVID-19 cases in the country reached its highest since March 2020.  

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