I am Dudley "Tal" Stokes, a founding member of the Jamaican Bobsled Team that competed at the 1988 Olympic Winter Games in Calgary, Canada. As driver and team captain, I had the opportunity to represent my country four times on the Olympic stage. My teammates and I were also the inspiration for the Disney feature film Cool Runnings.

With the 2014 Olympic Winter Games right around the corner, I am available for conferences, motivational speaking and personal appearances through www.thuzio.com, or on Twitter at @Thuzio.

Ask me anything.

Proof: https://twitter.com/Thuzio/status/390855338754584576

UPDATE: Thanks so much for your great questions. It was a pleasure to answer them. Hopefully I will see some of you in February at the Olympics.

Comments: 300 • Responses: 18  • Date: 

ClearEyesxFullHearts284 karma

"Feel The Rhythm, feel the rhyme, get on up, it's bobsled time!"

Did you guys actually say that in real life?

JamaicaBobsledTS334 karma

We didn't do the 'Feel the Rhythm, Feel the Rhyme' thing.

We did adapt the German timing thing and made it our own. Each person had a different approach to preparing themselves.

SemperTangens177 karma

How long did you train before you entered the Olympics? I enjoyed the cool runnings story. Can't wait to learn more about the real person.

JamaicaBobsledTS314 karma

I first heard about bobsled and the sport of Jamaica in 87. I saw a bobsled for the first time in the middle of September. Walked on ice in October at an ice rink in Lake Placid. Got on a bobsled shortly thereafter and that February, we were in the Olympics.

Nw4391a160 karma

How realistic was Cool Runnings' depiction of the adversity you faced from your fellow Jamaicans when you were starting the team?

JamaicaBobsledTS371 karma

We faced the uncertainty of funding because from the beginning we didn't have much money. Then we focused on how to become competent enough in the sport with the goal of the Olympics. There's the weather, which we had to become accustomed to, also competing physically in a cold environment and then there was the whole struggle for acceptance, to be seen as serious competitors.

The one scene that was pretty true was film scene, where the coach showed what bobsledding was like and only 3-4 people were left in the room.

Vertskater101108 karma

Hey! I grew up with the movie cool runnings! anyways I was wondering, why bobsledding? why not other sports? thanks a bunch!

JamaicaBobsledTS224 karma

I got into bobsledding because I was told to go. I was in the Army at the time. The Colonel made the suggestion to me and because I was a Captain, you do as your told and obey orders.

There were two Americans, George Finch and William Maloney who were big into push cart racing and thought it translated well to bobsledding. You mix that with the Jamaican athleticism and they thought it could work with some of our track athletes.

They couldn't get anyone to actually do the sport, so they went to the Army and my Colonel. So that's how I became involved in it. Once there, I was hooked.

knutella98 karma

Is there/will there be plans to have Jamaica compete in the Winter Olympics again? If so, are you helping out with that?

JamaicaBobsledTS187 karma

I expect them to qualify for Sochi. Hopefully I'll be cheering them on!

pagingjimmypage89 karma

As a native of Calgary I have a lot of fond memories about this movie. What was your favorite part of Calgary? Have you been back since?

JamaicaBobsledTS152 karma

I was in Calgary two weeks ago. The city has changed since I was first there. It's booming! I enjoy Downtown Calgary, it's history and how it came about. The people have a great spirit of independence, friendliness and cooperation with each other.

elmyrah80 karma

How did your experiences differ from the movie? Were you satisfied with the way you were portrayed?

JamaicaBobsledTS179 karma

It's a feature Disney film, not much in it actually happened in real life, there were some things that were inspirational for the film. It is different than a documentary. It's really served Jamaica bobsled very well.

Bolt2012200862 karma

What does your team mean to Jamaica? Or has meant since you first started?

JamaicaBobsledTS158 karma

Right now Jamaica is about Bob Marley, then Bobsled and now it is Bolt. The team didn't put Jamaica on the map, but it kept it top of mind. Jamaicans are aware of this and it is a source of pride for me while traveling or when at home.

shtaaap51 karma

Whats the Jamaican Bobsled scene like now? are you involved still?

JamaicaBobsledTS135 karma

Yes I'm still involved with the team - President and part-time coach. Actually, we have a pretty good team this year with long-time veteran Winston Watt. They are in Calgary right now and training as we speak.

Xx_John_Wayne_xX46 karma

How does the team practice in your warm climate, does the team stay in other countries?

JamaicaBobsledTS122 karma

This is the interesting thing about bobsledding. Most teams would love to come to Jamaica to train and prepare. We have the perfect climate for speed and power training. It's the speed and power for the start and the technique for the push. The pushing on the bobsled is a very technical skill that needs lots of practice.

RodCannon240 karma

What was your favorite part of thr Olympics? Do you keep in touch with any athletes from other countries that you met?

JamaicaBobsledTS96 karma

My favorite part of the Olympics, the parts I remember the clearest, was always the Closing Ceremony. When you get to the Closing Ceremony, the competition is behind you and the pressure is off. They are every bit as choreographed as the Opening Ceremony, but they're a lot more fun. I'm still in touch with athletes, mostly from bobsledding. We do keep in touch with each other and what we're doing.

choboy45639 karma

Have you tried any other winter sports (ie. Skiing/Snowboarding/etc.)?

JamaicaBobsledTS94 karma

I've always wanted to, but never really had the chance. While I competed, the risk of injury kept me away from doing too much and since then, I guess I've just been busy.

TheOcho89236 karma

Why didn't you want your names in the movie?

JamaicaBobsledTS96 karma

That's something of a misconception that seems to have to developed. We didn't have any objection to being cast in the movie, but I think the directors and the producers and ultimately Disney wanted actors, so we really didn't have that as an option.

WaterproofThis26 karma

Did you ever retry to get into the Summer Olympics in later years?

Also, thank you for contributing to one of the best sports related stories of triumph that I know of in my lifetime.

JamaicaBobsledTS55 karma

I played a lot of soccer as a younger, but my brother, who was also on the bobsled team was ranked in the Top 10 of the 100 meters for a long time and just missed going to the Summer Olympics in 1984.

bearsharktopus520 karma

Who or what was your biggest inspiration for getting into bobsled and following your dream all the way to the olympics?

JamaicaBobsledTS35 karma

Our first coach Howard Siler was the first guy that put me on the ice, an American who raced in Lake Placid in 1980. He was an inspiration. Then an Austrian gentleman named Sepp Haidacher, who really taught me a lot and encouraged me in the early days. There have been a number of athletes in the sport itself

SpaceOdysseus200119 karma

What was it about bobsledding that interested you?

JamaicaBobsledTS67 karma

Bobsled is one of those sport that I think is underappreciated. We have all sorts of extreme sports out there and this has been around for 100 years. You are using your body's natural power and the force of gravity. Going down the track is similar to being in a fighter jet. It's just an awesome, awesome experience.

sakebomb1217 karma

How much inspirational speaking do you do with your story?

JamaicaBobsledTS45 karma

I do a few keynote speeches a year.

I think people are usually most surprised about what we've gone on to do in bobsled. The memory in everyone's mind is the 1988 team, but we've stayed in the sport for many years after. In the third one, which was six years after we started in 1994, we were 14th in the world.

I use this to reinforce and motivate people on their own journey. I think I have a message that appease people trying to get things done, and I think through Thuzio.com, which is an innovative idea, very well thought through, I hope it will broaden my reach to tell the story.

[deleted]1 karma


JamaicaBobsledTS69 karma

My best piece of advice is to find the superhero within you. There is one within everyone.

Between whatever happens to you and the response is a moment in time where every human being has the ability to exercise choice. What this ultimately means is that we determine the long term significance of every act.

In 1988, we crashed at 80MPH during the Olympics for the TV audience of 1 billion. It was very dangerous, could have been fatal, it could have made us the laughing stock of the world. In that moment we could have walked away all together that we were going to stick with this bobsled program until we were world class and that happened in six years, which was quite remarkable.

The key was that decision we made after the big event to stick with it.