Host City: Calgary, Canada
Venue(s): Canada Olympic Park, Calgary
Date Started: February 27, 1988
Date Finished: February 28, 1988
Format: Four runs, total time determined placement.
Despite Swiss victories in the previous two FIBT World Championships the general consensus of opinion was that [Wolfgang Hoppe]’s East Germany I would recover from the disappointment of the two-man event and Hoppe would claim his third Olympic gold. At the halfway point the expected victory seemed a formality as the East Germans built up a sizeable lead.
It was the third run that was to prove decisive and while Hoppe’s crew had a nightmare run and finished halfway down the field, Switzerland I flourished under the veteran driver [Ekkehard Fasser] and moved from a distant third into a clear lead by producing the fastest time of the competition. Though the GDR crew gained some time back over the final run it was not enough to deny Fasser an unlikely victory in the final event of his career.
Despite the excitement of the chase for the championship more publicity was garnered by a team that did not complete the competition. The novelty of seeing the Jamaican flag painted on the side of an Olympic bob had already caused excitement worldwide but the events of the third run helped the story to become a major news event. Coming too late out of the Kreissel curve the Jamaican bob overturned and slid down the track with the crew members’ helmets scraping the ice wall. Thankfully the team were unhurt in the accident and the sight of the quartet walking across the finish line alongside their bobsleigh was beamed to millions across the world. The Jamaican story was later picked up by Hollywood and “Cool Runnings,” a film very loosely based around the 1988 Winter Olympics, was a massive success around the world.