The Jamaican Bobsled team’s dream of a training base for the 2010 Winter Olympics is gaining speed thanks to the people of Pemberton.
“I have given them a commitment that we can certainly house them, feed them, and transport them locally and we will put in place what is necessary to do that,” said Ian Porter who owns Copperdome Lodge in the Pemberton valley.
When Porter heard about the Jamaicans’ hope for a new practice base in or near Whistler he decided this was an opportunity that should not be missed.
“I look at as a cool opportunity, have some fun, do something that puts Pemberton on the map and also helps them out,” he said, adding that he hopes to help raise some significant funds for team.
“I don’t think Pemberton is getting a lot of direct benefit from (the 2010 Games) and that is why something like this can help out.”
Porter reached the Jamaican team in the Caribbean and offered up his idea and it was warmly accepted said Chris Stokes, president of the Jamaica Bobsleigh Federation and one of the original sledders at the ’88 Games.
“The last report I got is that this is the direction we are going in,” he said.
“…We are working to pull it altogether and I want to work through the Chambers of Commerce and the mayors to make sure we get it right.”
Porter, a principal of Vancouver-based Everest Realty Advisors, said lending a hand to a team that Canada might be competing against is just acting with Olympic spirit.
“It is part of that whole Olympic spirit, where (a team) perceived as an underdog is given a chance and helped… out,” he said, adding if anyone has ideas for support to e-mail him at Copperdome@telus.net.
Paul Selina, chair of Pemberton’s Legacies Now Spirit of B.C. Committee, is helping Porter get the plans in place.
“We are working very hard on it at the moment and… we are really quite excited about it,” he said.
“The media show that they bring with them is amazing. There will be a documentary crew, but it also gives Pemberton a great cultural thing to support and get behind and I think it is a very good fit with the Pemberton community. It is a little bit off the beaten track type of team and we are a little bit off the beaten track type of community.”
Selina will outline some of the plans at a meeting in Pemberton this afternoon (Thursday). Future plans may include asking the Jamaican team to be part of the town’s Winterfest.