Finances force Jamaican bobsleigh team to abandon plans to train in Canada

The Canadian Press ~ The News
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TORONTO - There won't be any Cool Runnings in British Columbia this year, after "economic realities" forced Jamaica's bobsleigh team to abandon plans of training in Canada for next year's Winter Games.
The team will instead train in Utah, where it competed in 2002.
"We are very appreciative of the kind hospitality of the people of British Columbia in November, and are eager to return to the great bobsleigh fans of Vancouver, Whistler, Pemberton and Calgary as soon as possible," team member Christian Stokes said.
"Unfortunately, the economic realities of the day have made that impossible for us, and we have decided to move to Utah where we have trained and competed before, as the guests of the terrific Jamaican and athletic communities in Salt Lake City."
The team had been offered free lodgings at Pemberton's Copperdome Lodge, but didn't appear able to meet the basic financial requirements for training, such as gloves.
Lodge owner Ian Porter said the Jamaica Bobsleigh Federation wouldn't "provide even the most basic level of financial and management support for its athletes."
The team got a $15,000 boost late this month from Jamaica's Sports Development Foundation, but is still thousands short for its basic training needs.
"We hope to announce very soon our new corporate sponsor partnerships, and in the meantime we are also working with our fans across the globe to raise the money we need, one dollar at a time if necessary," Stokes said.
"As always, the Jamaica bobsleigh team is determined and resourceful, and we will do everything it takes to successfully compete throughout this year and beyond."
The team was the inspiration for the Disney flick 'Cool Runnings' and made its debut on Canadian soil, at the 1988 Games in Calgary. The team competed at the 1994 Games in Lillehammer, finishing 14th.
The team is competing next month in New York, and still plans to participate in the 2010 Games.

Organizations: Jamaica Bobsleigh Federation, Sports Development Foundation

Geographic location: Canada, Jamaica, British Columbia Utah Calgary TORONTO Vancouver Whistler Salt Lake City Lillehammer New York

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