Cool Runnings

  • Directors: Jon Turteltaub
  • Producers: Susan B Landau, Christopher Meledandri, Jeffrey Bydalek
  • Writers: Lynn Siefert
  • Genres: Adventure, Comedy, Sport
  • Actors: Leon Robinson, John Candy, Doug E Doug, Malik Yoba, Rawle D Lewis

Irving “Irv” Blitzer is an American bobsled double gold medalist at the 1968 Winter Olympics, who finished first in two events again in 1972 but was disqualified for cheating and retired in disgrace to Jamaica, where he leads a destitute life as a bookie. He is approached by top 100m runner Derice Bannock, who failed to qualify for the 1988 Summer Olympics when another opponent, Junior Bevil, tripped at the trials, and pushcart driving champion Sanka Coffie, who both wish to use his previous experience as a coach in order to compete in the 1988 Winter Olympics as bobsledders. Irv had been good friends with Derice’s father, Ben, a former sprinter whom Irv had tried to recruit for the bobsled team years ago. Yul Brenner, another runner who was tripped at the qualifier by Junior, also joins the team. After Irv is convinced to coach the team, the three months of practice begins, initially resulting in embarrassment. However, the four men acclimate to the sport and travel to Calgary and the Olympics.

The Jamaicans’ first day on the track results in, once more, embarrassment, and a last-place finish. The second day proves better; the Jamaican team finishes with a fast time which puts them in eighth position. For the first half of the final day’s race it looks as though they will break the world bobsled speed record, until tragedy strikes; their sled, due to one of the blades falling off, flips on its side coming out of a turn towards the end of their run, leaving them meters short of the finish line. However, the team lifts their sled up and walks across the finish line to rousing applause from onlookers. The team, at the end, feels accomplished enough to return in four years to the next winter Olympics. A brief epilogue states the team returned to Jamaica as heroes, and upon their return to the Winter Olympics four years later, they were treated as equals.

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