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Jamaican Bobsled Team

July 14, 2008
July 14, 2008

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July 14, 2008

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Jamaican Bobsled Team

IN 1992, four years after the Jamaican four-man bobsled team's exploits at the Calgary Olympics and just days after the Albertville Games, sledder Devon Harris found his runnings far less than cool. A captain in the Jamaica Defence Force, he was crawling across an empty lot in Kingston, pinned down by gunfire from a shootout between rival gangs. "Yesterday I was on TV in front of the entire world," Harris, 43, recalls telling himself. "Now I could get shot in front of the garbage. I guess the honeymoon is over."

This is an article from the July 14, 2008 issue

Ten months later Harris left the army and moved to New York City. These days he retells his story to corporations and charities and shares some of the earnings from those talks with the needy back on his home island. And for the rest of that captivating crew from Calgary? Michael White, 41, relocated to New York and is a traveling manager for Target stores. The Stokes brothers, Dudley, 46, and Chris, 44, remained in Jamaica, applying their business backgrounds to the running of the national bobsled federation. "Nobody prepared us for what happened after we are not news," says Dudley, the team's driver. "We had to fend for ourselves."

After failing to qualify for the Torino Games, Jamaica hopes to have a two- and a four-man team in Vancouver in 2010. "We're not a sideshow," says Chris. "We're in it to win. A lot of people thought we'd have a good time, forget about this nonsense and go home. We looked at it as a chance to run on a solid sporting tradition, rather than just on hype."

PHOTOMANNY MILLAN (CALGARY)COOLING OUT Harris (right) and his teammates generated goodwill in the Calgary chill.PHOTOMICHAEL J. LEBRECHT II/1DEUCE3 PHOTOGRAPHY (HARRIS)[See caption above]