'Cool Runnings' Star Malik Yoba Is Rooting For Jamaican Bobsled Team In 2022 Winter Olympics
Malik Yoba is cheering on the Jamaican bobsled team in the 2022 Winter Olympics. The 54-year-old American actor appeared on Thursday's episode of The Kelly Clarkson Show, and revealed that he was rooting for the Jamaicans this year, after starring as a member of the country's 1988 Olympic team in the classic film Cool Runnings.
"After doing a movie like Cool Runnings, you always feel like you're part of the country," Yoba said, speaking in the Jamaican accent he used in the 1993 film. "I have to root for Jamaica. I cannot just think about America all the time."
This year is the first time Jamaica's four-man bobsled team has qualified for the Olympics since 1998. The event will take place during the last two days of the Olympics, Feb. 19 and 20.
Yoba noted that he "always wanted" to bobsled after seeing the sport for the first time during the 1980 Winter Games. While that dream "actually came true" in some sense when Yoba got to be a part of Cool Runnings, Devon Harris, one of the actual members of Jamaica's 1988 team, revealed that the Disney flick didn't exactly reflect reality.
"When the credits role, they say 'based on a true story.' Two words are missing 'very loosely' based on a true story," Harris quipped, before explaining how the idea to put the 1988 team together came about.
"It took two Americans who were based in Jamaica. They saw push cart derby... to them, it kind of looked like bobsledding," Harris explained. "They discovered a big part of a bobsled race is the start, you need sprinters. Of course, we have lots of sprinters in Jamaica... Armed with that bit of information, they tried to pull some guys from the summer team to try and get them interested in this bobsled idea. The response was, 'Bob who?'"
When the sprinters declined to participate, focus turned to the army in an effort to recruit men for the bobsledding team.
"At the time I was a young lieutenant in the Jamaican Defence Force and [people] basically told me to go the team trials -- and I did," Harris said, before recalling the training that ensued after he joined the team.
"We had a makeshift sled that we pushed on a flat concrete surface on the base in Kingston, like three hours every afternoon and six hours Saturday morning," he recalled. "Then the real training took place in Canada. We went to Canada in October '87 and went on a bobsled track for the first time. This is what? Five months before the Olympics. That was the first time we were doing a sport that we hoped to compete in the Olympics in, so kind of crazy."
While Cool Runnings may not be totally in line with what actually went down, Yoba said he's honored to be a part of the cult classic flick.
"It's a classic film," the actor said. "It's one of those things where five years later, 10 years later, 15 years later, now we're at 30? It's beautiful to be a part of that."
Winter Olympics Opening Ceremony: The Biggest Moments
The Best Winter Olympics 2022 Gear to Cheer on Team USA
How to Watch the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics