Jamaican bobsledders getting help from US driver
Todd Hays is trying to get himself to the Vancouver Olympics. And he might take the Jamaican bobsled team along for the ride. Hays, a longtime standout driver for the U.S. bobsled team, has agreed to lend some equipment to the cash-strapped Jamaican Bobsleigh Federation. Jamaican officials said Tuesday the equipment is expected to arrive in Whistler, British Columbia - where international teams are currently training on the Olympic track - in the coming days. It's unclear if Hays is sending one or two sleds; he indicated Monday that he agreed to lend one, and the Jamaican federation said Tuesday they would soon be obtaining two. Either way, Jamaican federation official Stephen Samuels said the team was grateful for the help. "It's just a matter of trying to get it up here," Hays said from Whistler, where the American contingent arrived Sunday to begin a two-week camp. "We're working on logistics right now. It was kind of a last-minute thing, but we're trying to do that and see what happens for them. It was one of my first sleds." The Jamaican bobsled team first got notoriety more than two decades ago, at the 1988 Calgary Olympics. The island nation has sent several teams to the Winter Games since, although funding has long been problematic. Jamaica's bobsled driver, Hannukkah Wallace, and push athlete Marvin Dixon were in Lake Placid, N.Y. for early season training this month, before moving their operation to Whistler. The Jamaican four-man team has not started formal training yet this season. Until now, Wallace has been driving rented sleds. "We need real equipment," Wallace said. "We need something, some help, from someone. Until then, we will not be able to show anyone what Jamaica is capable of." That's where Hays, a silver medalist at the 2002 Salt Lake Games, comes in. He's never formally worked with Wallace, but the Jamaican driver has shown some potential already, with a handful of strong showings at America's Cup races - one step below the World Cup series. After hearing of the Jamaican team's plight, Hays' Olympic spirit kicked in. "I'm kind of looking forward to him getting in it and seeing what happens," Hays said.