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Sam Clayton Jr. of the Jamaican bobsled team

Sam Clayton Jr. (2020), Jamaican bobsledder who helped inspire “Cool Runnings”

by Linnea Crowther

Sam Clayton, Jr. was a member of the Jamaican bobsled team that competed at the 1988 Winter Olympics in Calgary and inspired the 1993 movie “Cool Runnings.” He was also a sound engineer for the reggae band Steel Pulse.

Olympics and reggae

One of Clayton’s Olympic teammates noted that he was one of the first four athletes to be chosen for the country’s bobsled squad. Though Clayton was an integral part of the team, he wasn’t in the bobsled when it famously crashed during the team’s final run in the 1988 Winter Olympics. In later years, Clayton became a music producer and sound engineer, working with the Grammy-winning English reggae band Steel Pulse as well as other artists including Horace Andy and Toots and the Maytals.

What people said about him

“Most important of all, in this thieving, cutthroat music industry of ours, he was trustworthy. 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.” —David Hinds of Steel Pulse


“Sam Jr. will be missed terribly by all that knew him, 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. He was a jack of all trades and most important of all, a sincere friend who had a solution to practically any problem that came into play.” —statement from Steel Pulse on Facebook

Full obituary: The New York Times

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