Steep turns: a film about the Jamaican bobsleigh

To the sixth episode of our series, it is time to note that among the films about the sport extremely a lot of failures. “Goal!” with a swing not even the ruble, and for a gold coin flopped at the box office, “the Game of their lives”, despite the ideal Hollywood story, is not interested in USA almost anyone. TV series on Netflix “Sunderland” and the football of the nineteenth century initially did not even claim to blockbuster and actually saw the light of day only because the streaming giant is now trying to grasp the immensity, to interest including very niche products.

Of course, the genre “sports” is not a sentence in a business context. The same “Tony against all” was a resounding success, the legends of level “rocky” or “raging bull” I’m not even talking. But to collect cash on a sports film is really hard, and when the story has any connection with reality, the task is further complicated.

A significant portion of movie fans on the word “sports” responds like a vampire to the smell of garlic on their interest cannot even count. Yes, the sport has its own, very large audience, but it is very specific. It should work, it is hard to please, she reacts with aggression to certain changes to the plot… well, there are plenty of reasons why movies about sports much less successful conventional new year comedies.

But more than a quarter century ago there was a movie that a thousand percent surpassed spent on himself the money was included in the conditional list of “Can revise” for generations, and were not included in the top ten of the year, the dues only because of the incredible productivity of those years blockbusters. What a character helped to collect cash? Pele? Michael Jordan? Wayne Gretzky? Jamaican bobsleigh eclipsed all biopic and eulogies.


This, over time, less and less, but the representatives of tropical countries has always been the highlight of the winter Olympics. For example, at the Olympics in 1998 the legendary skier Bjorn Daly demanded to postpone the ceremony to greet the Kenyan skier, who had just reached the finish line. Kenyan Philip Bojt ran, showed better results than the Ukrainian Champions, but could not qualify in the national team and eventually made it already in the Olympics as a skier… But even this story pales against the backdrop of the adventures of Jamaicans in calgary for more than thirty years ago.

By 1988, the year the Jamaicans won at the Olympic games, 18 medals, including 17 in the race. Joggers and runners gradually became the hallmark of the island, “the bronze” David Weller in Cycling remains in the memory of sports experts, but it was difficult to think of a less appropriate to participate in the bobsleigh competition of the country than Jamaica. Moreover, tropical, and very poor country that could not afford the training of athletes in a very expensive view of the other side of the world.

The man who changed everything, was the Ken Barnes – the big sports functionary of Jamaica, part-time father of the legendary players of the eighties and nineties John Barnes. Athletic to the bone, Barnes wanted his country participated in the summer Olympics, and made a choice in favor of the bobsleigh because of the widespread on the island of “pocketing” – racing on the cards on the pavement. If Jamaicans love to slide on asphalt, they will be able to do that on the ice – that was the calculation of the Barnes.

Of course, for such an undertaking was possible to collect only adventurers. Everyone has their own Association, but personally I four bobbers reminds Musketeers Dumas: they were so different and equally charming. Devon Harris drove on the island the ball and got the nickname “Pele” as the team for which he went out, always won. Dudley Stokes has dedicated his life to the army and was a helicopter pilot, Mike white to calgary combined running and engineering… in General, when such introduction Barnes and his assistants made a bid for the army: it was probably the most disciplined people in Jamaica.

For a large part of his success to the Jamaican bobsleigh should be grateful… American hockey players. Due to the fact that the Yankees in the 1988 Olympics not even got into the final group, the American TV was forced to look for something to fill the niche, and bet on fun of the islanders in the sleigh. I must admit that the Jamaicans did not disappoint, showing not the yard (if I may use such an epithet for bobsleigh) level. The race of twos Dudley Stokes, and Mike white took thirtieth place out of 41 participants in pairs, and in fours, the team was not last to the terrible drop in the third race, for which she was forced to withdraw. Footage of Jamaicans carrying Bob to the applause of the spectators, forever became a classic of the Olympics.

The result was the emergence of the Jamaican bobsled as a real sport. Eight White Olympiads, held after calgary, the Jamaicans just missed the Turin and Vancouver; to 2010, the year the Jamaicans at the winter Olympics was presented exclusively in this exotic and expensive species. And they had to beat the Americans with the Russians, and finish at the top of the Protocol – in General, the tale is not over, as the Midsummer night’s dream, and found its continuation.


The story of the Jamaican bobsleigh interesting “layering” of the miracle: when you think nothing else this story may not be surprising, it presents a stunning new fact. The tournament, which was held by many even the great athletes took part including people who had been in calgary only as a fan. Chris Stokes planned to support at the Olympics, his brother Dudley, who played in the Quartet, but due to the injury of one of the athletes became a bobsledder.

His entire career included four Olympic games, calgary and after he wrote the book “Steep turns and what was behind them – the history of the national team of Jamaica bobsled”. It also undertook to implement a Hollywood – and, frankly, from the beginning of implementation took shape not like the fact that you took the “Game of life”.

John Turteltaub not included in the Pantheon of the very very greatest of the great, but our days were held as a large, successful Director. In zero he flashed a “national Treasure” with Nicolas cage in the tenth – “Starперцами” with Morgan Company, Michael Douglas and Robert de Niro, and as of 1993-the year he was just a young wizard. In principle, we can say that due to the “Steep turns” he made a name for himself, and that he was lucky with the Director.

From other stars of the film can be called a popular American actor of the nineties John candy played the coach of Jamaicans, and the author of the music of Hans Zimmer. But, of course, the main characters of the film are themselves bobsleigh. Very common problem with movies about team sports: the same characters, the lack of visible difference between conventional second and third room. “Cool runnings” like not even close to suffer: there is obvious conflict between smiley and surly bobbers, and various contact with the mentor, and much, much more.

With the original writers and producers did, of course, mercilessly. By and large, except for the canvas “the Jamaicans came to compete in the bobsleigh and became everyone’s favorite” from reality, there’s nothing left instead of their real adventures in the script delivered a few typical sports problems. Contact caught cheating crook, the conflict of athletes before a competition, the conflict of the players within the teams – all standard plots which “Turns” are shown to be extremely plausible – and the scene with the implementation of the Olympic regulations do not remember that anyone has shown so accurately.

In the story, the adventure of Jamaicans formed when several different people independently from each other wanted to take part in the Olympics. For example, one of the heroes fails at the selection competitions on the run and in desperation says sports official: “I was born an Olympian”. “Then try yourself in Boxing or Cycling” – he hears in the answer where it all starts.

The film is shot like a fairy tale: even extremely repulsive in the plot, a team of Swiss in the end makes Jamaicans respects, and all parties come to a mutual reconciliation. Of course, the Jamaicans are way through the thorns to the stars, from the fall of the sleigh reaching very good results. And a really great coach to get involved in the adventure, played candy. It is a pity that this actor’s role in “Cool runnings” was one of the last: a year later he dies from a heart attack…

In some places Turteltaub on the way to creating a tale crossing the line. What “Victory was in your hands” from the mouth of the coach? The Jamaicans, of course, does not claim to a high place nor a single moment. Why would Jamaicans to face the hatred of other athletes? Draw the place they occupied, one of the tops to move could not… But in any case, this is not the movie I want to criticize. “Cool runnings” not only became successful in 1993, they, in my opinion, go into the worthy cohort of films that are nice to review over and over again.

What is the secret of “Cool runnings”? Why they sunk into the soul of the audience? Of course, the most simple and clear answer – the film is well shot. It does not SAG story (98 minutes – funny duration by today’s standards but more than enough to cover the topic), it is in any case not boring, although the plot development just about all guess who it includes, it has good acting…

But there are less trivial reason due to which the movie about the Jamaican bobsledders became incomparably more popular than any movie about the Jamaican runners, English players or canadian hockey players. The heroes of this movie, a simple viewer can be associated with them – which is impossible in the case of film about the athlete-the celestial. Simple Jamaican guys were no better than us – and yet were able to take part in the Olympics. Any dream may come true, you just need to not be afraid to dream.

Movie: Cool runnings
Genre: Comedy
Year: 1993
Sport: bobsleigh
Evaluation Of “Kinosport”: 9/10

See also: the Game of their lives: how Hollywood made perhaps the best movie about soccer

Tonya vs all hot around the ice Oksana Baiul

Sunderland ‘Til I Die series, a disaster about Black Cats

Goal! – how about football I tried to remove blockbuster

English game – new Netflix about the beginning of football

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