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Sporting film of the day to help through lockdown: Cool Runnings

The film relates the story of the Jamaican bobsleigh team.

From robo-heavyweights to angry ice-skaters, sports movies occupy a peculiar and often frankly unwatchable place in the annals of Hollywood history.

Amid global lockdown, the PA news agency runs a daily rule over some of the films that might provide that much-needed sporting fix – and those that absolutely shouldn't.



Based loosely on the true story of the Jamaican bobsleigh team's exploits at the 1988 Winter Olympics in Calgary, 'Cool Runnings' offers a comedic interpretation of the team's rise from aborted track careers and their wholly improbable pursuit of representing Jamaica at a Winter Games for the first time. It's the kind of tale that even Hollywood would probably have passed over as too outlandish but for one simple fact: for the most part, it actually happened.


John Candy is excellent as Irv Blitzer, a brilliant but disgraced former Olympic bobsleigh coach whom the team must coax out of retirement in order to facilitate their plans. Blitzer, it must be said, is a wholly fictional character. Peter Outerbridge also stars as the wonderfully stereotypical Josef Grull, the ice-cold East German team leader who mocks the Jamaican team's ambitions. Cuba Gooding Jnr. was originally slated for a role as one of the four bobsledders but they eventually went to Leon Robinson, Doug E. Doug, Rawle D. Lewis and Malik Yoba.


Jamaica continue to compete in Olympic bobsleigh (Mike Egerton/PA Archive)

Despite various liberties with the plot, it is the underlying truthfulness of the enterprise which makes 'Cool Runnings' such a great sports movie. The Jamaicans really did fashion a team from nothing to compete in 1988 – and their legacy lives on, with a Jamaican bobsleigh now a frequent and unsurprising element of World Cup start lists. Like a bobsleigh run itself, we all know where 'Cool Runnings' is going to end up, but that doesn't make it any less of a candidate for repeated viewing.

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Today's Olympic highlights header

Friday's key events

· The athletics schedule begins, with 100m sprinter Dina Asher-Smith among the names in action on the opening day. The men's 10,000m final concludes the action, with Team GB's Sam Atkin and Marc Scott taking part in the absence of 2012 and 2016 champion Sir Mo Farah (1am-2.30pm)

· Victoria Thornley is Team GB's representative in the women's single sculls final (1.33am)
· Great Britain will be going for gold in the men's eight final (2.25am)

· Team GB duo Molly Renshaw and Abbie Wood take part in the women's 200m breaststroke final, but new Olympic record-holder Tatjana Schoenmaker of South Africa is the hot favourite (2.41am)
· Luke Greenbank has very realistic ambitions of picking up a medal in the men's 200m backstroke final (2.50am)
· There is also British representation in the women's 100m freestyle final, although any medal for Anna Hopkin would be a surprise (2.59am)
· With one gold and one silver already under his belt at these Games, Duncan Scott goes again in the men's 200m individual medley final (3.16am)

· Bryony Page will be looking to repeat her 2016 heroics in the women's event (5am-7.30pm)

· Bradley Forbes-Cryans will be looking to emulate Rio gold medallist Joe Clarke in the men's kayak event (6am-9am)

· The women's tournament enters the quarter-finals, with Great Britain facing Australia at the Ibaraki Kashima Stadium (10am)

> Today's schedule in full
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