Movies | Pop Culture | 90s

11 Things You Didn't Know About The Greatest Bobsled Team Of All Time


Have we just been transported back in time, or did our favorite childhood movie just become reality?

Now that the Winter Olympics are in full swing in Sochi, we have all eyes on the Jamaica bobsled team and we are getting flashbacks of our favorite underdog team.

Cool Runnings was that movie you watched on the Disney channel as a kid 25 years ago. Based on a true story, this 1993 movie has only gotten better with age as we re-watch and relive the experience that captured us more than two decades ago.

Telling the story of the first Jamaican bobsled team to ever compete in the Winter Olympics, it won over the hearts of every kid in the 90s.

While a lot of the movie that wasn't completely accurate, it was still a memorable moment of our childhood.

So let's take a look at things you might not know about Disney's Cool Runnings.

Cool Runnings beat some classic movies

In a poll conducted by LOVEFiLM, Cool Runnings was ranked as the number one feel-good movie of all time, beating out Ferris Bueller's Day Off, Forrest Gump, It's a Wonderful Life and Little Miss Sunshine.

The movie was supposed to star Denzel Washington

Washington was originally offered the role of Derice Bannock, but he turned it down. The role then went to Leon and the rest of his history. Eddie Murphy was also offered the role of Sanka, but turned down the offer because the pay was too little.

Drugs had an impact on this movie

Screenwriter Tom Swerdlow wrote Cool Runnings while high on heroin. He made the confession during a Reddit AMA saying that the drug gave him 'structure'.

“It allows you to be rebellious and at the same time, completely structures your time and focus,” he wrote. “It gives you everything and it asks for everything.”

The writer almost died from his drug addiction in 2007, which pushed him to eventually get clean.

The team didn't experience such harsh opposition as depicted in the movie

The movie really made us think that the Jamaican bobsled team faced some pretty harsh opposition, but in reality that wasn't the case. One team even offered the Jamaicans a backup sled so they would have a better chance to qualify.

The characters were fictional

While the story was based on true events, all the characters in the movie were fictional. Producers wanted the movie to stand on its own, so they decided to come up with characters that weren't based on real people.

The accents were an issue

Studio head Jeffrey Katzenberg insisted that the Jamaican accents being used were too difficult to understand.

"He told me that unless I got the guys to speak English like Sebastian the crab from [The] Little Mermaid, I’ll basically never work at Disney ever again," director Jon Turteltaub said.

Leon was then instructed to speak like "a Jamaican Aladdin."

There's actual Olympic footage in the movie

Some of those moments you see caught on camera were actually shots of the racers as they were in the 1988 Calgary Winter Games.

The crash scene was also actual footage of the accident that occurred in 1988. In spite of having movie magic at their disposal, they decided to show you what was really happening instead.

How's that for trying to keep it historically accurate?

The crash wasn't because of a mechanical error

The crash that occurred during the 1988 Winter Olympics was due to a loss of control when they were coming around one bend, not a mechancial failure.

In spite of their rocky start, Jamaica has done well in the bobsled race ever since.

Money wasn't actually an issue for the team

No, the Jamaican bobsled team never raised money from a kissing booth to fund their trip. Instead it was two wealthy Americans that paid for the team, so money wasn't actually an issue for the team.

The movie blew box office records

It was estimated that Cool Runnings would make $50 million. Instead it earned $68 million in the United States alone and grossed over $154.8 million worldwide.

It was one of John Candy's last roles

Cool Runnings was one of the last time John Candy appeared in a film before his passing. In 1994, Candy was found dead of a presumed heart attack in his hotel room at the age of 43. To make the movie, Candy took a pay cut because he really wanted to play the role of coach Irv. He told the cast that he knew the film was going to be big, and that Disney didn't know what they had. Turns out he was right!

What was your favorite moment from Cool Runnings?

Source: Bustle / TV Overmind / MentalFloss