It is an open secret that the present administration of the Jamaica Olympic Association, JOA, is creating “heat waves” in winter sports as it fulfills one of its mandates of growing and strengthening Jamaica’s representation in the winter Olympic Games with a competitive edge. 

Although without a medal for the last eight winter Games, JOA President, Christopher Samuda, is still confident that “with the robust development programme on which the JOA has embarked with a view to broadening the menu of sports and deepening representation particularly among the next generation of youth, podium success is in the foreseeable future.” 

The expansive initiatives of the local governing body for winter sports demonstrate a commitment that has been ongoing.

Since 2018, guided by its mantra “Sport for All, and All for Sport” which is also its rallying cry for the 2024 Paris Olympic Games and the 2026 Milano Cortina winter Games, the JOA has invested significantly in the sport of bobsled in motivating the dreams and aspirations of Jamaica’s athletes in achieving an historic top of the podium finishing.

An elated JOA Secretary General and CEO, Ryan Foster, stated that “the JOA is extremely pleased with the results having invested over $12,000,000 since 2018 in our bobsled athletes in assisting them in their travel, training camps and accommodation and in facilitating their qualification.

“Three athletes were selected by the JOA who benefited from Olympic Solidarity scholarships amounting to over $10,000,000 the funds of which were used to help the athletes in their day-to-day preparation to include nutritional support,” said Foster.

“Without the scholarship programme many athletes would not be able to afford the expenses of their daily preparation for the games,” Foster continued.

Sport requires investment in the human capital and JOA’s policy has been unqualified.

“Investment in winter is an investment for all seasons of sport as the JOA’s philosophy and culture in so far as the development of sport and inspiring our youth are concerned, whether in competitive and recreational endeavours, is timeless, non-discriminatory and with the conviction that performances will become legendary.” Samuda stated.

The qualification of teams in this year’s winter Games – the men’s four and two-way teams and in the women’s monobob – and Benjamin Alexander in alpine skiing has earned congratulations from the ruling body.

In a recognition of the accomplishments, Foster stated “the JOA pays tribute and wishes all our athletes tremendous success in the upcoming games.”

“Our gratitude to the management team led by Fitzgerald Mitchell, Chef de Mission, and Dr. Wayne Palmer, sport leader and well-known and respected orthopedic surgeon and the delegation’s Chief Medical Officer and Covid Liaison Officer, who no doubt will successfully navigate the landscape in China,” said Foster.

Meanwhile Samuda in endorsing those sentiments remarked, “the accomplishment of our athletes is testament to the inspiration and commitment that has and continues to drive aspirations and dreams for themselves and their country on the ice and we are hopeful that a medal will be on the Beijing menu.” 

Italy will be the next destination for the winter games and already the JOA is visioning history in the making as it embarks upon a programme it has described as “The Italian Ice-Breaker” and awaits destiny.