The 10 Biggest Lies In Cool Runnings

Published in Movies + TV  
Cool Runnings Cool Runnings

Everybody loves 'Cool Runnings'!

The story of the Jamaican bobsled team's debut in the Winter Olympics is funny, charming and heartwarming. More than that, it's inspiring, because it's based on a true story. Right? Right?

On the eve of the Sochi Winter Olympics, here are the 10 biggest lies in 'Cool Runnings'.

John Candy Didn't Exist
John CandyThe face of existential terror.

Well, that's not quite true — John Candy did exist (between the years of 1950 and 1994), but Super Coach Irv Blitzer didn't.

The real Jamaican bobsled team had several trainers, rather than one overweight Svengali, and none of them were connected to any sort of cheating scandal. The US four-man bobsled team hadn't even sniffed a gold medal since 1948, let alone had two stripped from them in 1972.

Cool Runnings 6"All right, Derice. Let me lay out some difficulties for you. Snow: You don't have any. It's nine hundred degrees out there. Time: You don't have any. The Olympics are in three months. And me: I don't fucking exist. Seriously, I am a completely fictional character."

The Bald One Wasn't Called Yul Brenner...
Cool Runnings 16Sounded legit to us.

... And the leader wasn't called Derice, and the little one wasn't called Junior, and the funny one wasn't called Sanka. More to the point, there was no bald one, no little one, no funny one — all the bobsledders in the film were invented, as were their personal dramas and Junior's weird relationship with his dad.

giphy 2I see a character whose resemblance to any real person, living or dead, is purely coincidental!

They Were Never Going To Make The Summer Olympics
giphy 1So close and yet so fictional.

In the film, Derice, Yul and Junior are Jamaican sprinters who narrowly missed out on qualifying for the 1988 Summer Olympics (Junior accidentally tripped the other two, which is classic Junior). In reality, the Jamaican Summer Olympic Trials occurred after the Winter Olympics in Calgary, and none of the guys from the bobsled team were elite sprinters anyway.

The Team Was Manufactured
Cool Runnings 8Yes, kind of like these guys.

In the film, Derice thinks to start a bobsled team because Super Coach Irv Blitzer had tried to recruit his father to the sport years ago. In reality, the team was the brainchild of two American businessmen living in Jamaica, George Fitch and William Maloney, who had seen a local pushcart derby and thought it looked a bit like bobsledding.

For some reason, Fitch and Maloney couldn't convince any elite Jamaican sprinters to throw themselves down a narrow, twisting, iced track in a gravity-powered sled at 150 km/h, and instead recruited four sprinters from the army. They didn't harbour any dreams of Olympic gold — they were just following orders.


The International Alliance Of Winter Sports Isn't A Thing
Cool Runnings 5"The wrong sled crashed..."

In the film, the International Alliance Of Winter Sports plays the crusty old dean to the Jamaicans' free-spirited mavericks. They might as well have been called the Strategic Homeland Intervention, Enforcement and Bullshit Division, because in real life, no such Alliance exists.

Every Winter Olympic sport has its own governing body — bobsledding falls under the International Bobsleigh & Skeleton Federation, which had no quarrel with the Jamaican team. 

The East Germans Were Cool Guys

For kids growing up in the early '90s, East German bobsledder Josef Grull — the arrogant prick who told the Jamaican team to go home — did more damage to Germany's reputation than Adolf Hitler.

Cool Runnings 4Does this look like the sort of guy who'd start a bar fight with those lovable Jamaicans?

Not only was Grull fictional, but the real East Germans had no problem with the Jamaican team — in fact, nobody did. They were treated as equals by the other teams; one of them even loaned the Jamaicans a backup sled so they could qualify.

There Was Nothing Wrong With The Sled
Cool Runnings 13This thing was every bit as safe as it looks.

On-screen, the Jamaicans are let down by a mechanical failure with the sled. As the driver steers, a nut and bolt on the control column works loose, and the sled loses control and crashes as it comes out of a turn.

In reality, there was no mechanical failure, and this team of random sprinters from a country with no ice who somehow qualified for the Winter Olympics crashed for exactly the reason you would expect — driver inexperience.

epic fail gifs car parking failSanka goes to the shops.

They Didn't Make The Finals
Cool Runnings 19This was never going to happen for them. Sorry.

In the film, the Jamaicans are unlikely medal contenders who are on world record pace in the finals prior to their crash.

In reality, the crash happened during the qualifiers, and it caused them to miss the finals. They were about as close to setting the world record as the Denver Broncos were to beating the Seattle Seahawks in this year's Super Bowl (that's not very close).

Peyton Manning Thumbs Up BroncosPeyton Manning approves of Disney turning this year's Super Bowl into a movie.

They Didn't Carry The Sled

giphyMy god, it would be depressing if this turned out not to be true.

The most inspirational moment in 'Cool Runnings' comes when the team, having survived their horrific crash, lift the sled up onto their shoulders and carry it to the finish line.

In reality? Race officials pushed the sled along while the team — who, to be fair, had just tipped their sled while doing 129 km/h — trailed along behind.

There Was No Slow Clap
giphy 3Even Josef Hitler was impressed.

Naturally, the heroic Jamaican team in the film receive a slow-building standing ovation for carrying the sled on their shoulders.

In reality, people were still pretty impressed with their determination, but the applause was sporadic, and didn't build to a rousing crescendo. If you're just finding this out now, I'm sorry — slow claps are not a thing that happen in real life.

Cool Runnings 10That's right, guys — you should be embarrassed.

The two-man bobsleigh competition, featuring a Jamaican team funded by Dogecoin that has already managed to lose their luggage, starts on February 16.



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