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Sam Clayton Jr., Member of the Jamaican Bobsled Team that Inspired the Film ‘Cool Runnings,’ Dies from COVID-19

Sam Clayton Jr., who was a member of the Jamaican bobsled team that competed in the 1988 Winter Olympics, passed away from COVID-19 on March 31 in Kingston, Jamaica, at the age of 58.

The team competing at the 1988 Winter Olympics in Calgary, Canada, inspired the 1993 film “Cool Runnings.” It was the first time ever that Jamaica went to the winter games. Clayton, however, wasn’t one of the four men who ended up competing for a medal.

Sam Clayton Jr., of the Jamaican bobsled team that competed in the Winter Olympics in 1988, passed away from COVID-19 at the age of 58. (Photo: Getty Images Staff / Getty Images Sport via Getty Images)

The four consisted of Dudley Stokes, Michael White, Freddie Powell and Devon Harris.

“Although he never made the Olympic team Sammy was an integral part of the Jamaica bobsled team,” Harris told the publication Loop. “He was among the very first four selected to spearhead Jamaica’s entrance into Winter sports and the Winter Olympics.”

To many, Clayton was more known for being a part of Jamaica’s reggae scene as a producer, manager and sound engineer. He was the engineer for the veteran Reggae band Steel Pulse and usually worked out of Kingston’s Harry J. Studio, according to The New York Times.

“Most important of all, in this thieving, cutthroat music industry of ours, he was trustworthy,” Steel Pulse told the Times via email. “Where Sam towered over the rest of his peers, is that he held dearly every task he did, no matter how small or how tedious. They all got his relentless undivided attention.”

On April 2, Hinds shared a photo of Clayton on Instagram and wrote, “It was only 16 months ago that we attended the funeral of Sam Clayton Senior, another remarkable individual … And now this.”

“Sam Jr. will be missed terribly by all that knew him,” added Clayton. “Primarily because a man that is so upright, fair, honest, eager to work under any challenges or conditions and possess an arsenal of talent, is a very hard commodity to find in this industry of ours today.”

Clayton is survived by his wife Annie Clayton, a daughter, three sons and three grandchildren.

As for the Jamaican bobsled team competing in the Olympics, they were disqualified from competition after Stokes lost control of the bobsled. But the team completed the race anyway by walking past the finish line.

According to an April 17 CNN report that pulled numbers from Johns Hopkins University Center for Systems Science and Engineering, there have been 143 reported cases of COVID-19 in Jamaica, and five people have passed away.

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