(NY TIMES)- KRASNAYA POLYANA, Russia — When Winston Watts put on his helmet to begin Jamaica’s first trip down an Olympic bobsled track in 12 years, he was surprised by what he felt in his eyes. It was not tears of emotion; no, this substance was grittier and chalkier. After a moment, he figured it out: he had protein powder dribbling down his face. “Our bags were lost on the flight over,” he explained at the end of Thursday’s training session. “They showed up at midnight last night. But everything was opened. I don’t know who it was — security, I guess — they opened up everything. The bottle was sealed, too — they took off the top and broke the seal and powder was everywhere.”Despite the powder in his eyes — and a travel nightmare that included a connecting flight through Kennedy Airport that was diverted because of snow in the New York metropolitan area — Watts maintained relentless positivity. He and his brakeman, Marvin Dixon, missed the first day of bobsled training because their equipment arrived late, but that did not damper Watts’s spirit. As something of a celebrity ambassador for bobsled because of the popularity of the cult-classic film “Cool Runnings,” Watts said he believed the Jamaicans’ presence enhanced the mood of the entire bobsled community.“When Jamaica is not around, they are not happy — we make people smile all the time,” he said. “We are loving and caring. We are from the sunshine!” Certainly the Jamaicans’ popularity is undeniable. After qualifying for the Sochi Games, Watts and Dixon began a fund-raising drive — mostly via the Internet — to raise money for better equipment and other expenses that come with competing in the Olympics. The efforts raised about $178,000, Watts said, a figure that far exceeded their expectations and ultimately led the Jamaicans to politely ask their fans to stop donating.“We are not greedy,” Watts said. “Our fans were amazing and we are here and we have better equipment. We are happy.” Watts would not speculate on how well he thought he and Dixon would do in the two-man bobsled competition, which begins Feb. 16. He did, however, point out that his country has a strong history of going fast on tracks, albeit of a slightly different sort. When asked if Usain Bolt, the Jamaican sprinter who has dominated the world track and field circuit, would make a suitable bobsled teammate, Watts beamed. Watts said that he had not heard from Bolt — “He’s a busy guy, he doesn’t have any time to text me” — but that he would surely welcome him if Bolt ever decided to seek Olympic glory in the winter instead of the summer.“He could be a very good pusher,” Watts said. “But I think he’s not a person who likes cold.”
If theres nothing better than a story about the Jamaican bobsled team to start the day than I don’t know what is. I mean how can you not love these guys. They were down and out, had a terrible trip, and didn’t have enough gear yet they’re keeping a positive attitude so honestly I’m rooting for these guys. I mean how can you not love the Jamaican bobsled team. You can’t say that without a smile on your face.