Olympian helps Jamaican bobsledders

U.S. bobsled star Todd Hays has agreed to lend some equipment to the cash-strapped Jamaican Bobsleigh Federation for the Vancouver Olympics.

Jamaican officials said on Tuesday the equipment is expected to arrive in Whistler, British Columbia – where international teams are currently training on the Olympic track – in the coming days.

It’s unclear if Hays is sending one or two sleds; he indicated on Monday that he agreed to lend one, and the Jamaican federation said on Tuesday it would soon be obtaining two. Either way, Jamaican federation official Stephen Samuels said the team was grateful for the help.

“It’s just a matter of trying to get it up here,” Hays said from Whistler, where the American contingent arrived on Sunday to begin a two-week camp. “We’re working on logistics right now. It was kind of a last-minute thing, but we’re trying to do that and see what happens for them. It was one of my first sleds.”

The Jamaican bobsled team first earned notoriety more than two decades ago, at the 1988 Calgary Olympics. The island nation has sent several teams to the Winter Games since, although funding has long been problematic.

Jamaica’s bobsled driver, Hannukkah Wallace, and pusher Marvin Dixon were in Lake Placid, New York for training this month, before moving their operation to Whistler. The Jamaican four-man team has not started formal training yet this season.