There was no stuntman involved when the Jamaican bobsled in Disney's movie "Cool Runnings" flipped on its side and smashed a driver's helmeted head between the ice and sled at about 90 miles an hour.
Likely, no stuntman would be crazy enough to do something like that. Instead, Hollywood borrowed the gut-wrenching take from footage of the 1988 Calgary Winter Games.Dudley Stokes, the Jamaican bobsledder shown in the scene, stopped at Primary Children's Medical Center Monday to tell children there about bobsledding, the tropics and why he keeps coming back for more after racing in four Olympic meets.
The scene in the movie looked worse than it really was, said Stokes, admitting that he still doesn't like watching that part of the movie. "Being in it was not nearly as bad as watching it on TV," he said.
The ace-bandaged children, wearing pajamas and flannel hospital gowns, listened wide-eyed to Stokes and his brother Christian, president of the Jamaican Bobsled Federation who also raced in Calgary.
The brothers answered questions with a Jamaican-spiced version of Queen's English many of the kids had never heard before.
What is it like to ride in a bobsled?
"Horrible . . . absolutely scary and rough," said Christian Stokes' wife, Denise, who told the group about getting tricked by Dudley into riding a bobsled a couple of years ago.
"How cold is Jamaica?" one girl wanted to know.
"Not very," was Dudley Stokes' dry reply. "If the temperature goes below 20 degrees Celsius (68 degrees Farenheit), it is panic time," he added.
"Do you ever get hurt real bad?" another little boy wanted to know.
The bobsledders have been lucky, Dudley answered. He added that many people think of bobsledding as a winter sport, but it doesn't have to be.
"Winter is almost incidental to the sport," said Dudley. "It could happen on any surface. It is not ice-specific like skiing and skating."
The Jamaicans stopped into the hospital during their weekend trip to Utah and Wyoming. The bobsledders and their Evanston, Wyo., hosts are wrapping up negotiations to make Evanston the year-round training center for future Jamaican bobsled teams.
The arrangement, said Denise Stokes, would mean that her husband and brother-in-law would be given room and board to train for the 2002 Winter Olympics and future competitions.
"Many people look at Evanston as an underdog (community), and the Jamaican bobsled team is definitely an underdog (in the Ol-ympics), so . . . we could put them together," said Denise Stokes. In exchange for room, board and training facilities, the Jamaicans would "promote the name of Evanston," she added.
Devon Harris, one of two Jamaicans who raced in Nagano, trained at Evanston in what was a trial run of a U.S.-Jamaican partnership, said Paul Skoggs, an Evanston attorney who spearheaded the city's efforts to host prospective Jamaican bobsledders.
Skoggs said that Evanston is often overlooked as a training spot for the Winter Olympics, though it is only a 50-minute drive from the bobsled training facility at Bear Hollow.