On 20 January 2014, the Jamaican pair’s unexpected qualification made headlines around the world. A fundraising campaign was launched, sparking an incredible influx of donations from all over the planet, and it was closed again just two days later.
The Jamaican Olympic Committee also confirmed that it would provide the duo with financial support. “It’s going to help us do our very best and get hold of equipment that’s essential if we want to compete with the rest of the world,” says Watts.
For the veteran athlete, now 47, the overwhelmingly positive global reaction to their qualification is a sign of his nation’s sporting stature. “They believe in us because they know that Jamaica has some of the greatest athletes in the world,” he says. “They want to see us excel at this sport as well. We’re not just a bunch of jokers who are there because the film came out. We’re true athletes and serious contenders.
“Taking part in the Olympic Games and parading at the Opening Ceremony is a great honour for me, and a source of pride for our entire country,” he adds.
Chris Stokes, who was part of the legendary 1988 quartet and is now President of the Jamaican Bobsleigh Federation, has vowed to continue developing the sport, establishing a junior and women’s team and targeting success at Pyeongchang 2018.
Producing the likes of Usain Bolt, Yohan Blake and Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce, the Caribbean nation has shone on the Olympic athletics track for many years. Now it hopes its athletes can harness their potential in the bobsleigh and make their mark on the Winter Games too.