23 May 2020
When Virgin Media engineer, Paul Roach, carried out a routine customer appointment in Peterborough, little did he know he was about to help the official Jamaican bobsleigh team get back on track by fixing their broadband and make the two-man team go even faster.
Unbeknownst to Paul, the Cambridgeshire city – not known for its snow-capped mountains or blisteringly fast bob runs – is home and the training base of Shanwanyne Stephens – a member of the Jamaican national bobsleigh team.
Unfortunately, whilst gardening, Shanwayne accidentally severed his Virgin Media cable – stopping his ultrafast broadband connection right in its tracks.
Shanwayne, aged 29, moved to Peterborough from Jamaica when he was 11 years-old and serves in the RAF. Due to his military connections and Jamaican heritage, he began representing the country’s bobsleigh team in 2017 in the prime position as the sleigh’s driver.
In disappointment mirrored in the hit 1993 movie, Cool Runnings, Shanwayne sadly missed out on qualifying for the PyeongChang 2018 Winter Olympic Games by just one spot. However, he and his teammate are training hard so they can compete at the winter Games in Beijing in 2022.
Blistering broadband for barrelling bob runs
Shanwayne uses his Virgin Media broadband to help him and his Jamaican teammate, Nimroy Turgott, carry out essential training. They rely on a lightning fast connection so they can stream point-of-view track videos where they sit on the floor and visualise themselves barrelling down hairpin bends, as well as sending videos and aerial drone footage of their workouts to their coach.
Engineer Paul arrived the next day after the gardening incident to repair the damaged cable.
While speaking to Shanwayne and Nimroy - and observing social distancing - Paul shared his own family connection to Jamaica and was then stunned when the men revealed their unlikely sporting occupation. To prove to Paul they were in fact members of the official bobsleigh team, the teammates even donned their competition kit – complete with lycra and helmets.
As a result, Paul wanted to help Shanwayne and Nimroy go even faster so they can make their dreams a reality and qualify for the Beijing games, and he has arranged for their broadband speeds to be boosted from 100Mbps to 350Mbps at no extra charge. It means their broadband is as fast as their sleigh on a bob run – where they can train with a seamless connection – so everything is cool runnings.
Shawanye Stephens said: “This broadband boost is brilliant and will help when I’m streaming videos and will improve my visualisation of belting down the bob run track. Nice one, Virgin Media.”
Paul Roach added: “I can’t believe I got to meet the real life Cool Runnings! It’s great we’ve given Shanwayne and Nimroy a broadband boost with blisteringly fast speeds to give them the edge with their training so they can conquer the bob run and make it to Beijing.
“I’m really proud to be helping our customers stay connected – which is more important now than ever.”
Paul’s teammate, Ethan, has set up a Go Fund Me page to raise funds to help Shanwanye and Nimroy with their training. If you would like to donate, please click here.