Fairy tale over for Jamaican bobsleigh team
Jamaica-1 two-man bobsleigh pilot Winston Watts celebrates in the finish area after the Bobsleigh Two-man Heat 3 at the Sliding Center Sanki during the Sochi Winter Olympics on February 17, 2014 - by Alexander Klein
Jamaica, who qualified for the Winter Games after a 12-year absence, were hoping to represent their country with the same vigour and enthusiasm shown by their 1988 Calgary counterparts, who inspired the movie.
But despite vocal support from the crowd, Winston Watts and Marvin Dixon were unable to produce the miracle they needed in the third run to make up their time deficit from the first two heats -- finishing 29th out of 30 runners in the two-man bob.
"I promised to slide today faster than yesterday," Watts said after the third run. "And we did so. Unfortunately it was not enough to go further.
"I give thanks for my health and my strength that allowed me to compete with all these young guys. I'm not a guy who likes to quit, I'm a fighter."
Meanwhile, Watts said his performance in Sochi was also a message to the other "small" countries.
"Hopefully, we sent a message to the smaller countries, you don't need snow to do bobsleigh. You don't need snow to do winter sports," he said.
Before Monday's run, the Jamaicans' Twitter account showed a picture of brakeman Marvin Dixon kissing a "lucky egg" but neither that nor a Bob Marley flag in the crowd could inspire them to success in their distinctive yellow, green and black sled.
The Jamaicans finished a huge 6.50sec behind the leading Russian team and 3.02sec off the Dutch team, who took 20th spot -- the cut-off point to qualify for the fourth run.
The team were helped on their journey to Russia by donations from around the world and buoyed by the goodwill of their global fan-base.
"All the people here like us," Watts said. "No, that's not correct. I should say all the people here love us...and we love them too."
Pilot Watts, competing in his fourth Olympics, said on Sunday he had not given up on the next Games, even at the ripe old age of 46.
"It's not my first Olympics and I hope it won't be my last," he said. "Even if we are first or last we are happy to be here, and in Jamaica they appreciate any place finish."
Watts, however, added he was set to become a coach after his retirement from sport.
"I will train young people. I could be a coach," he said.
Brakeman Dixon added he also wanted to extend his Olympic career.
"My main goal is to go to Pyeongchang in 2018," he said. "And it was to come here to compete and to do as best as possible."