A member of the Jamaican bobsled team that went to the 1988 Olympics and inspired Cool Runnings has died of COVID-19.
Sam Clayton Jr. was an “integral part” of the team, says teammate Devon Harris, though he was not actually on the sled that infamously crashed.
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.
“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
TRIBUTE TO SAM CLAYTON JR. To our fans and friends out there. It's been a lot to process with this world of ours…
“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
“He was among the very first four selected to spearhead Jamaica’s entrance into winter sports and the Winter Olympics,” Harris says, per TMZ. Clayton, 58, became a sound engineer for the UK band Steel Pulse after giving up bobsledding.
He died March 31, leaving behind his wife, Annie, a daughter, three sons and three grandchildren.