ROSA KHUTOR, Russia (Reuters) - Winston Watts is soaking up every moment of his latest Olympic experience with the world fascinated by the resurrection of Jamaican bobsleigh, but a phone call from Usain Bolt would be the icing on the cake.
“Usain is a busy guy - he doesn’t have my number. If a text comes in it will be a surprise. I’d love to know that he is behind us,” two-man pilot Watts told reporters after their first unofficial practice at the Sanki Sliding Centre on Thursday.
The world’s fastest man has expressed a desire to play cricket and football but Watts said the sprinter could try out for his team if he ever tired of dominating the track.
“He would be a very good pusher but he is not the kind of person who likes cold. He has definitely said that.
“It would be awesome to have him on my team because, you know, a strong guy like me, and Bolt who is very fast ... can you imagine ... A good combination.”
The chatty Jamaican was pleased to announce that the team’s missing luggage and equipment, missing en route to Sochi, had arrived late on Wednesday - but not quite in the shape they had packed it.
“It was full of protein powder (that had spilled in the container),” the 46-year-old said. “My helmet that I was wearing today, I had protein in my eyes.”
While Watts did not have to rely on borrowed gear the now four-time Olympian admitted to a “few butterflies” and feeling a “little shaky” on their first run after clocking the slowest time in practice.
“I never tell anyone what I am going to expect here. We come here as the underdogs but we hopefully show the rest of the world what the Jamaica team can do,” he said of their return to Olympic bobsleigh after a 12-year absence.
Thanks to the popularity of the film Cool Runnings, telling the tale of four plucky underdogs from the tropical nation making their Olympic bobsled debut in 1988, Watts will be guaranteed as much media attention as the sport’s leading nations.
He is happy to take it in his stride, thrilled to be back in the limelight.
“The bobsleigh circuit is like a family,” he said. “Everyone loves Jamaica. When Jamaica is not around they are not happy because we are a fun-loving caring people. Jamaicans smile all the time, even when they are having a bad day.”
The self-confessed “mama’s boy from a poor Jamaican family”, it seems, will still be smiling by the time the two-man competition starts on February 16.
Editing by Peter Rutherford