Though it claims to “based on a true story,” not much of what happens in the movie reflects actual events.
Hey, we like the movie just fine—but a sober and factual re-telling of real-life events it’s not. This much, the film gets right: there were, indeed, four bobsledders who competed for the Jamaican team at the 1988 Calgary Olympics. After that…
MOVIE: The sledders are a ragtag quartet of elite sprinters with questionable training practices.
REALITY: They were a highly motivated group, made up of three soldiers and a business-school student.
MOVIE: The team has one coach, a washed-up ex-sledder who lives with the shame of being caught cheating at the Olympics.
REALITY: The team had several trainers and advisers. The real-life coach, according to one of the real-life team members, was “one of the top competitors in the world.”
MOVIE: At the Games, the team encounters hostility from the top-ranked sledders.
REALITY: Fellow athletes treated the newcomers with warmth and friendly support.
REALITY: Fast forward several years: at the 1994 Olympics, Jamaica’s four-man bobsled team finished in 14th place—ahead of teams from Russia, Italy and the U.S.
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