SOCHI, RUSSIA- Some things you just can’t make up. And one of those things is the hardship the Jamaican bobsled team has endured not only to arrive in Sochi for the 2014 Winter Olympics but to even compete.
After struggling to raise $80,000 through crowdfunding websites and having their luggage lost en route to the Olympic games, now the two-man Jamaican bobsled team has an even bigger problem. Namely, the theft of their ride. Yes, that’s right. The team’s bobsled was stolen late last night from a secured area inside the Olympic venue. As you can imagine, security surrounding all national teams’ equipment should be high priority for Sochi, but leave it to determined thieves to undermine it.
“After what we’ve been through just to get here, this is unthinkable,” said Winston Watt, a member of the two-man team. “I don’t know what kind of person or persons would do this to us. Or to anyone for that matter.”
“It’s depressing, what else can I say,” echoed fellow Team Jamaica bobsledder Marvin Dixon, Watt’s partner. “I hope and pray the security officials will be able to locate our sled so we can compete for our nation. All we can do right now is wait for some good news.”
In a week of highly embarrassing episodes for Sochi and Russian President Vladimir Putin, the theft of the Jamaican bobsled may be at the top of the list. As expected, Russian officials are mum regarding the incident and have notified Watt, Dixon and the rest of the Jamaican delegation that the theft is “being investigated thoroughly.”
The bobsleigh competition begins on February 16 at the Sliding Center Sanki so authorities have a few days to locate the sled. The Jamaicans will be allowed to borrow other teams sleds to practice while police and security forces track down the gutless thieves who committed this terrible offense.
“You hear about the terrorism risks here in Sochi and around this area but you say to yourself everyone’s protected here, they have it under control. But now I wonder if the security forces can’t keep our sled safe, can they even keep the athletes and spectators safe,” said Watt.