Saranac Lake just got a whole lot cooler-- the Jamaican bobsled team has moved into town on a residency program for the next six months.

The team will be staying at the historic Hotel Saranac as they train at the Mt. Van Hoevenberg sports complex.


A deal that would've used $135,000 of taxpayer money to accommodate the team in the Adirondacks was previously rejected. But the North Country Sports Council decided to independently finance the stay themselves, recognizing the benefits on the local economy and positive press it would generate.

Jamaican Bobsleigh & Skeleton Federation via Facebook
Jamaican Bobsleigh & Skeleton Federation via Facebook

Saranac Lake's mayor Jimmy Williams said:

We’ve had a lot of Olympic medalists from Saranac Lake and it’s time to spark some interest in the next generation.

The team's arrival in Saranac Lake has so far been met with positive fanfare. Hotel Saranac Director of Sales Myra Rondeau said:

I think they were pleasantly overwhelmed with how much the community embraced them and the cheers alone they got just walking down the street was incredible.

Meanwhile, the North Country Sports Council is working on plans to make Saranac Lake the team's permanent training center.


Most people are probably most familiar with the Jamaican bobsled team from the 1993 comedy Cool Runnings, starring John Candy in one of his final roles. The movie draws loose inspiration from the team's Olympic debut in the 1988 games in Calgary, Canada, although a ton of comedic liberties were taken.

Walt Disney Pictures
Walt Disney Pictures

What is true, however, is that the Jamaicans were enormously popular in those 1988 games, with their improbable story earning them cult favorite status among the public. The fact that athletes from a tropical country were competing in a winter sport gave them significant underdog appeal.

In the 1988 two-man event, they finished 30th place out of 41, but their sled crashed in the four-man event. As of this writing, they have not won any Olympic medals, but they did win gold at the 2000 World Push in Monaco.

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