Cool Runnings is a 1993 Disney comedy film that tells the story about the Jamaican Bobsled Team. It stars John Candy as the coach, and Doug E Doug, Rawle Lewis, Leon Robinson, and Malik Yoba as the four members of the Bobsled team.
Production decided to film in the actual locations where the story took place. The first part of the film takes place in Jamaica, in both Montego Bay and Kingston parishes. The film then shifts to Calgary, the location of the 1988 Winter Olympics. While I have visited Jamaica before, I have not had a chance to see the filming locations. However I have visited the Calgary sites.
Olympic Bobsled Track
The Olympic track used for bobsled and luge during the 1988 Olympic Games were also used to recreate the competition for Cool Runnings. The track is located at Calgary’s Olympic Park, known as Winsport. The facility is home to a large number of sports facilities, including ski jumping, snowboarding, and hockey.
The Bobsled track has been out of use for a few years now, as the upkeep was very costly. I was told the machines required to keep the track frozen are quite dated. This is why the track is not being used until they can be upgraded. The track can still be seen though, including the final portion where the climax of the film takes place.
The Olympic Oval was used to film a number of scenes for Cool Runnings. Despite being portrayed as the same facility as the bobsled track, this facility is actually located elsewhere in the city and is part of the University of Calgary. The Oval’s hockey rinks were seen when the Jamaicans first start training on ice. The rinks are surrounded by the speed skating track.
The entrance of the building is also seen as the Jamaicans first arrive and walk past the Olympic flame. We then see the Lobby as Coach Irv registers the team for competition.
The characters make a visit to Ranchman’s, a cowboy bar and Calgary institution. Sadly, the bar has closed in the last couple years and is currently up for sale. The bar also made an appearance in Brokeback Mountain.
The bar also had one of the bobsled’s used to film Cool Runnings on display over it’s front door. It was unfortunately stolen in 2020 and doesn’t seem to have been recovered.
During the film, we see a couple scenes of the team staying at the low-budget Relax Inn. This hotel was actually located right across the street from Ranchman’s Bar. After filming, it spent several years as a Travelodge before being torn down. This is the location where it once stood.
The Calgary Tower
The restaurant in the Calgary Tower was used for a scene when Coach Irv meets Roger, He takes the chance to score the team an old Bobsled. The Sky 360 Lounge is located at the top of the tower and is still operating for anyone wanting to visit.
The Calgary Airport
The Calgary International Airport is briefly seen as Irv and the Jamaicans arrive in Canada. This is where they get their first taste of winter. Filming took place at Door 1, located on the International Departures Level. This is where the characters first walk outside and get on their hotel shuttle.