LAST PLACE: Driver Winston Watts and brakeman Marvin Dixon have a mountain to climb to not finish the event at the bottom (PA)
JAMAICA’S BOBSLEIGH team was never expected to win any medals at the Winter Games, but there had been hopes that they could finish the two-man event by not coming in dead last.
However, that is the likely outcome after yesterday’s (Feb 16) disastrous opening day for the two-man event at Sochi 2014, where driver Winston Watts and brakeman Marvin Dixon failed to better the time of any other team.
The Caribbean duo ended the day in 30th place – bottom of the pile after running two heats down the course.
It was a disappointing day for both Jamaicans, who know they are firm underdogs in the high-speed sport.
Their efforts were nowhere near good enough to get them close to the best run of the day, which was laid down by Russia’s crew of Alexander Zubkov and Alexey Voevoda, who were a full 4.41 seconds faster.
The 46-year-old Watts, who came out of retirement and ended Jamaica’s 12-year absence from the Winter Games to compete in Russia, was clearly frustrated by his and Dixon’s performance.
The Jamaican pilot also managed to trash his helmet visor as he prepared for the second run of the day, and said: “It's just one of those things, I pulled my visor and with all the adrenaline it just broke and I said, 'well, I'm not going to stop now, I'll show the world I've got heart and I'll take my sled down'.”
Watts wanted to dismiss comparisons about the team’s display to the icon 1993 film Cool Runnings which has immortalised Jamaica’s underdog, cult status at the winter event.
The driver added: “Cool Runnings is a very nice movie and it opened such a nice way for us, but a lot of people look at that movie and see us as jokers.
“We're not jokers, we're serious contenders.
“This is not an excuse but things didn't go the way we wanted them to. But we have come here and we have gone out to compete the best we can and to show the world that we're still alive.”
Meanwhile, Britain’s hopes of glory in the two-an event continue despite being outside of the top 20 after the first day. Lamin Deen and John Baines lie in 23rd place, and Deen, who lost his regular brakeman Craig Pickering because of injury, said: “The first heat wasn't so bad - it was probably the fastest time we have done down this track.
“For John and I this is probably the seventh heat we have had together and we have still got timing work to improve on”.