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Cool Runnings

Cool Runnings

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Published by Félix Duchampt

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Published by: Félix Duchampt on Feb 21, 2012
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10/01/2013

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Félix DUCHAMPTCOMM 401Sport and national identity02/28/11DR Pupchek 
Cool Runnings
Before trying to understand aspects of national identity in the movie Cool Runnings, I will tryto summarize the story in order to give you an idea of what it is.SummaryCool Runnings is a1993comedy film directed byJon Turteltaub.This movie is actually  based on the true story of the Jamaica national bobsled team which started to compete in the bobsleigh event during the 1988 Winter Olympics Games, which took place in the cityof Calgary, in Canada.Derice Bannock, a very good 100m runner, is getting ready to go to the 1988 Summer Olympics. He is one of the best in the country. But during the trials, he was tripped by Junior Bevil, another good runner. He fell down and lost the opportunity to go to the summer Olympics. Yul Brenner was another runner who was tripped at the qualifier by Junior.But Derice really wanted to go to the Olympics, whatever the event. Thus, he got then an idea.He approached Irving "Irv" Blitzer, a friend of his dad and American bobsled double goldmedalist at the 1968 Winter Olympics, who finished first in two events again in1972. But hewas disqualified for cheating and retired to Jamaica. Derice asked him if he wanted to be the
 
coach of the new national team of bobsleigh, composed by himself, Junior, Yul, and his friendSanka Coffie, a funny pushcart driving champion. Blitzer agreed.The foursome tried to find some ways to earn money to get in the Olympics. They sang, armwrestled, kissed women, but nobody raised enough money. But Junior sold his car, andoffered them the opportunity to have the budget to go to the Winter Olympics in Calgary.But in Canada, the team is looked down by other countries, in particularly the East Germanswho told them to go back home. The team then kept training and improving their technique.They qualified for the finals, despite being briefly disqualified.The Jamaicans' first day on the track results in, once more, a last place finish. Everybody elsewas making fun of them. After stopping copying the other teams and developing their ownstyle, they were better the second day; they finished eighth, clocking a fast time. The first half of the final day's race, others teams were then afraid of them. Everybody thought they couldwin. Until a bad thing happened: their sled, due to one of the blades falling off, flips on itsside coming out of a turn towards the end of their run. They won’t be champion. However, theteam lifts the sled up and walks across the finish line. People clap their hands for them,showing respect. Despite this event, the four boys and their coach felt accomplished enoughto return in four years to the next winter Olympics. A brief epilogue states the team returnedto Jamaica as heroes, and upon their return to the Winter Olympics four years later, they weretreated as equals. National Identity
 
As you understood, the movie is mainly about Jamaica and sport. Thus, we can understand thenational identity of this country.But first of all, we should define what is a nation. In my opinion, a nation is constituted bytwo kinds of people. The ones who lived in the past and built the culture, habits, ways of thinking, ways of acting and stereotypes of this country, and the ones who lives right now, inthe present, and keep living the same way. The oldest are in possession of a rich legacy of memories. The others have the desire to live together in this culture built by their ancestors,and they have to perpetuate the value of the heritage they received from them.Running is the national sport of this country. Jamaica is a land of runner. We can be a little bitmore accurate, saying that track and field, and especially sprint distance, is the national sport.When Derice fell down, I can understand his frustration. Going to the Olympics in thenational sport of your country must be something very important. It’s like a dream and youcould be very proud of you. Especially because when you say national sport, it implicitlymeans that a lot of people want those few spots the country obtained for its athletes for theOlympics.I’m sure he trained so hard to achieve his goal and did a lot of sacrifices, as we can see at the beginning of the movie when he speaks with his wife but don’t really have a lot of time withhis family because he has to run. The Olympics are just every four years, so missing once canmean you’ll miss Olympics forever, because you don’t know how your life will be 4 yearsafter (injuries, family, motivation, etc). Representing his country at the Olympics is a bigachievement, and not only your city but the whole country is supporting you. Even peoplefrom other countries can support you if you’re one of the best in the Wolrd and shows goodvalues. At least, not only your country that is watching you, but the entire World. TheOlympics are on TV in almost every country in the World, as this event is the most importantone in the history of sport. You can be very proud after that.

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