In case you didn’t know, Jamaica has a long-standing tradition in the world of competitive bobsleigh. It’s not just the plot of a John Candy movie, Jamaicans have been competing with success in the sport over the years. The problem this year was that lockdowns imposed by the spread of the Coronavirus forced Jamaicans to get creative. Traditional training techniques were put on hold for a while and the Jamaican Bobsleigh Team trained using a MINI Convertible.
That’s right, the team including sled pilot Shanwayne Stephens, 30, Dy’Neal Fe’ssal, 28, and Matthew Wilson, 30, have taken their training to another level and hit the UK’s largest indoor slope at The Snow Centre, Hemel Hempstead. The trio pushed the MINI Convertible, wrapped in the colors of the Jamaican flag, up and down the snowy incline for the ultimate resistance training, aiming to get an edge on their competition ahead of their grueling winter schedule.
Shanwayne said “This second lockdown has been even harder on our training. Matt and Dy’Neal are new to the team so we’re focusing on gelling together as a team and getting them up to speed – they have never been in a bobsled or even seen one yet! Pushing the MINI here may seem like a bit of fun but this has been an important exercise, just being on ice is completely different to training in the summer – the toll on your body is entirely different and you use energy in different ways. The Snow Centre is only -3 degrees, that’s pretty mild compared to what we’re normally in, and they’re already complaining about the cold!”
In summer, during lockdown, Shanwayne and other fellow teammate Nimroy Turgott kept up their fitness by building a home gym and using the MINI as a makeshift prowler. Currently training to qualify for the Beijing 2022 Winter Games, as well as various competitions across North America and Europe this season, the team’s next major event will be the World Championships in Lake Placid, New York, in February 2021.