Jamaica's foray into bobsleigh is a well-known story, from qualifying as underdogs for the 1988 Winter Games to the 1993 movie Cool Runnings featuring John Candy. After failing to qualify in 2006 for the first time since the team was established, the boys in green, black and gold are back at it again looking for a berth in the 2010 Games.
This is not their story, although the underdog theme suits Rindy Loucks, who is hoping to represent Jamaica in the sport of skeleton in the 2010 Winter Games.
Although Loucks was raised on Vancouver Island she has extended family in Jamaica. She is currently going through the process of getting residency so she can represent Jamaica in the sport of skeleton in 2010. That's the first hurdle of many that Loucks has to clear to compete in the Olympics, and although it will be a challenge she believes she has a chance.
"I'm clearly the underdog, a lot has to happen between now and the Olympics. But at the same time I wouldn't be here if I didn't think I had a shot at qualifying," she said.
Loucks took an interest in sliding sports early on, she said, especially in the sport of luge. She kept that dream on the backburner for a while as school and life took over, but after the 2002 Games she decided to give it a try. She went to Calgary to learn more and to take part in camps, but was already considered too old for a sport that begins recruiting when its athletes are in elementary school.
However, 2002 also signified the return of skeleton to the Olympic schedule since it was removed in 1948, and the sport was wide open.
"Skeleton didn't make a big deal about age, it's all about ability and making the commitment," said Loucks, who learned the sport in Calgary. She even made the national driving school for athletes, but she didn't have the right skills at the time to go further. She was always more of an endurance athlete than a sprinter, and needed more time to work on her starts.
She missed her window to represent Canada but never gave up her dream. Last season she committed to making another run at the Olympics by joining the America's Cup and Intercontinental Cup circuits while representing Jamaica. She did it without coaching, and headed into most events "blind" with only a few training runs to get used to the courses.
While she still considers herself among the slower racers, she managed to rank fifth overall in the America's Cup, 24 th in the Intercontinental Cup, and 53 rd in the world, and to qualify for the 2009 World Cup Championships at Lake Placid.
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