It turns out Jamaica isn’t the only tropical Caribbean island with an Olympic bobsled team… In fact, our team (Bart Carpentier Alting, Bart Drechsel) participated in the 1988 Calgary Olympics and actually beat (!) the Jamaican team – made famous by the film Cool Runnings – by :00.13 seconds!
Born in Curaçao in 1954, Bart Carpentier Altin did not grow up on the luge and bobsled. He took up the sports while studying in the Netherlands… predominantly because he saw an ‘Olympic’-sized opportunity in the early 1980s, when the Netherlands Olympic Committee (NOC) decided to invest 200.000 guilders ($100K dollars) in igniting local interest in competitive luge-ing and bobsledding.
“The Olympics became my ultimate dream (…) I flew to Curaçao and requested a meeting with the people of the Antillean Olympic Committee. They had no idea what I meant by ‘rodelen’ (luge-ing), they assumed I was referring to ‘roddelen’ (gossiping). I convinced them when I told them it wouldn’t cost them a dime and even invited them to attend the Games (in Calgary).”
Curaçao made up part of the Netherlands Antilles (together with St. Maarten, Saba, St. Eustatius, Bonaire), a country within the Kingdom of the Netherlands from 1954 to 2010, so our Olympic athletes would participate under the ‘Netherlands Antilles’ flag and denomination.