Hold on tight - it’s bobsled runnings!

Shanwayne (right) with Seldwyn Morgan
Shanwayne (right) with Seldwyn Morgan
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A Peterborough man is hoping to feel the rhythm and feel the rhyme as he closes in on qualification for the Jamaican Bobsled team in next year’s Olympics.

Shanwayne Stephens is bidding to make his own little bit of Cool Runnings history after being selected for the national team just three months before the 2018 games begin in South Korea.

A blockbuster film was made about the first Jamaican Bobsled Team after they raced into people’s hearts in the 1988 games in Calgary, and the team has been a regular at Winter Olympics ever since.

Shanwayne was born in Jamaica, but moved to Peterborough aged 11 - and now the 27-year-old has his ticket to the PyeongChang games within reach.

He is mixing competing for Jamaica in North America with his role as a regiment gunner in the RAF.

The former St John Fisher school pupil said: “I started bobsleighing through the RAF three years ago. I wanted to get into a sport and came across a poster on the wall. Went to the trials and that was it, I was hooked.”

Shanwayne has been competing as a brake-man in the two man event with driver Seldwyn Morgan.

He said: “I have been competing in the North America Cup (NAC) which is held over four different tracks across America and Canada. We have one race left in the New Year to try and qualify for the 2018 Winter Olympics in Korea which is the main focus at the minute.

“My ambition for next year is to firstly qualify for the 2018 Winter Games. Secondly, to become a bobsled pilot and compete again in the NAC.”

While the races have not all gone to plan so far, Shanwayne said he was proud to represent the country he was born in - and follow in his famous countrymen’s footsteps, with the Cool Runnings spirit still strong in the camp. He said: “Representing my country for the first was quite an emotional experience.

“The hard work and training you put in and to finally realise a dream was all I could ask for. Having my first race in Calgary was even more special as it’s where the original team made their debut in 1988.

“Being part of such an iconic team is the best feeling ever. However you do feel the weight on your shoulder. The guys from 1988 and onward left such a mark in the bobsled world that even to this day when a Jamaican Bob is on the start lines everyone stops to have a look.

“My family are very supportive. They have always told me to strive for my dreams and here I am. My fiancée goes around telling everyone I’m in Cool Runnings.

“I absolutely love the movie, even though it is only loosely based on the truth. However the team cohesion, the willingness to do better and to win is nothing but the truth, and still lives within the team today.”