Aiming for Olympic glory with 'Cool Runnings' Jamaican bobsleigh team


Date: 23rd Jun 2020

A Buckinghamshire New University student is balancing his studies with training to realise his Olympic dream - as a member of the Jamaican Bobsleigh team.

Shanwayne Stephens, who is studying BA (Hons) Organisational Capability Development, hopes to be part of the four-man team from the Caribbean nation competing in the event at the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics.

Shanwayne Stephens and Nimroy Turgott
Just like the 1993 film Cool Runnings, Shanwayne aims to taste Olympic glory by careering down narrow, twisting, banked, iced tracks in a gravity-powered sleigh - but first needs to qualify.

Shanwayne, who moved to the UK when he was 11 and serves in the RAF Regiment as a Lance Corporal, is a lead bobsleigh driver and trains in Peterborough, where he lives, as well as Bath.

As he looks towards forthcoming qualifying events, training in lockdown has included swapping posh training facilities for homemade weights and bars, as well as video training, and even resistance training pushing a Mini Cooper belonging to Shanwayne's fiancé.

Shanwayne added: "I know in the movie in Cool Runnings they didn’t have the correct equipment so I feel like we’re living up to their spirit and improvising as best as we can."

Shanwayne Stephens and Nimroy Turgott training
His exploits have drawn national media attention, with coverage in The Sun, Daily Mail, and on the BBC.

"It's all gone pretty crazy but the publicity is good. Now I just need to keep up with my university work as I am likely to be very busy next year training," added Shanwayne.

Shanewayne has been training with another member of the team, Nimroy Turgott, who lives in Jamaica but has been unable to return home since the start of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Wayne Palmer, his course lecturer at Bucks New University, said: "Shanwayne is a great student who attacks his studies with the same vigour that he puts into his training for the Olympics.

" He is about to start his final year and we are looking forward to a good finish."

Picture captions:

Top: Shanwayne Stephens (left) with Nimroy Turgott.

Bottom: Shanwayne (right) pushing a Mini Cooper in training with Nimroy Turgott.