Greenwich to host fundraiser for Jamaican bobsled program

June 1, 2017 GMT

Next weekend, the largest fundraiser for Jamaica’s bobsled team will be held in an unexpected location — Greenwich’s Riverside Yacht Club.

Louis Van Leeuwen, the Cos Cob-based owner of Greenwich Construction and Curry & Kingston, a kitchen and cabinetry showroom, will host on June 10 his third annual fundraiser in Greenwich to generate proceeds for Jamaica’s burgeoning bobsled program as it prepares to compete next season to send sleds to the 2018 Winter Olympics in South Korea..

The CEO with a Dutch lineage explained how his family’s escape from the Nazis by way of the French underground in the 1940s landed them, by chance, in Jamaica, where Van Leeuwen was born. His roots prompted him to name his recent venture, Curry & Kingston, after cities there and led to his interest in supporting the country’s Olympic bobsled teams.

The Jamaican Jam will take place at the Riverside Yacht Club and begins at 6 p.m. Members of the bobsled teams will join attendees for an evening of Jamaican food and entertainment that includes a pig roast and steel band. Tickets can be bought online at


“How ridiculous is it that Jamaica has a bobsled team?” joked Devon Harris, who will serve as the jam’s master of ceremonies and has worked with Van Leeuwen to host the fundraisers. Harris grew up in Kingston and earned one of four spots on Jamaica’s first men’s bobsled team, which competed in the 1988 Olympics.

“The sum of my experience before competing in the Olympics was maybe 13 weeks of practice total and we then competed against guys who had been doing this for 13 years,” he said.

His childhood dreams of representing his country as a top-tier athlete turned into three Olympic appearances in a decade. He also graduated from Jamaica’s Royal Military Academy before moving to the United States. The 1993 film Cool Runnings was loosely based on Harris’ experiences. In addition to working with the Jamaica Bobsleigh Federation, he travels as a writer and motivational speaker to Fortune 500 companies.

Van Leeuwen and Harris hope the upcoming fundraiser will provide support for the bobsled teams as it’s among the most expensive Olympic sports, according to Harris. “The need is great,” he said.

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