All Day I Dream About Sneakers…

notre dame

One of the main reasons that C.S. and I traveled to Paris was to see if I could track down some rare and hard to find sneakers. There is a neighborhood in a Parisian suburb called Cligancourt that my friends tell me resembles the old Delancey-Orchard Street strip from the late 1980’s.

Sure enough, there were leather jacket dealers and sneaker traders everywhere. With no prices marked on the shoes it meant that you could ‘jew’ the dealer down to the price that you both agreed upon. Since I am a Black Hebrew, I have no problem jewing anyone.

There were all kinds of NIKE dunks and Air Max models to choose from, but this trip wasn’t about securing any more NIKE shoes since the swoosh brand and I were looking at being separated (and possibly divorced?). I was on the hunt for a pair of ultra rare ADIDAS. Paris is known to be a hotbed for the German shoe manufacturers products and up to this point I had seen some interesting pieces not yet available in the States. The shoes I wanted though were more than just a pair of collectible sneakers; they contained an incredible history that not too many people know about.

These were shoes worn by the Jamaican bobsled team during the 1976 Summer Games in Montreal.

monty '76

First off I know what you’re thinking… Jamaican bobsled team at the 1976 summer Olympic games?!?!? And normally I would agree with you but that is how sick this story is. Because the games were being played in Canada, the Jamaican boblsed team assumed that there would be snow and therefore it would be their first chance to compete in the games. Can you imagine for just one second how difficult it must have been to practice bobsledding in the sand?

ganja sled

I guess the team had been smoking some of that good sticky icky for them to think there would be snow on the ground in July, even up in Canada, but nonetheless they packed their bags and their sled and headed to Montreal. As word spread on the tiny island that the bobsled team would be competing in the Olympics, several other Jamaican winter athletes were inspired to make the trek as well, in the hopes that they too might secure the ‘big gold coin mon’. How many of you know the story of WINSTON LIVINGSTON, the great steel pan drummer and professional speed skater from Jamaica? He would have shattered all the established records in the Sapporo Japan Games in 1972 if he hadn’t been disqualified for going around the track in the opposite direction.

winston livingston

The real hero, or should I say heroine of the 1976 Olympic Games, was MAVIS BAILEY. She was from a poor little town in the Parish of Saint Andrew called Cockburn. The seaside town was so poor that all of its residents had to share one single pair of shoes. Even though MAVIS was scheduled to compete, the week the games were scheduled wasn’t her week to wear the town shoes, so she had to go to Montreal barefoot.

little mavis

This is where the bobsled team stepped in (pun absolutely intended). MAVIS was favored to win the women’s 200m race and she was perfectly fine running barefoot , but the I.O.C. (the T.I.’s that run that Olympic shit) had mandated that all competitors must wear track shoes. VERNON HERDSMEN, the Jamaican bobsled team’s driver and the only member of the team that wasn’t detained by Canadian customs officials for narcotics possession, was able to lend MAVIS his sneakers so that she could run her race. MAVIS nearly won the gold medal too, but she unfortunately stumbled and fell when the laces from VERNON’s sneakers became untied. Sadly, she ended up finishing in last place.

poor mavis

Even though MAVIS BAILEY returned to Jamaica medaless and shoeless, it is her perserverance that I honor and respect. I found VERNON HERDSMEN’s her ADIDAS shoe at this tiny little sneaker stand run by an angry Arab (yeah, I know, show you a happy one).


The second best part of the trip was that C.S. and I were back home before they set that sneaker store on fire.

6 Responses to “All Day I Dream About Sneakers…”

  1. LM says:

    This is the kind of thing that those Bud Greenspan videos never show about the Olympics… thanks for the history lesson.

  2. K-Star says:

    I love it when you educate me, thanks!

  3. lene says:

    best BHM lesson…BIG UP JAMROCK!!

  4. PerForce1 says:

    How nice, shoes with rich color and history

  5. […] » Blog Archive » All Day I Dream About Sneakers…Sure enough, there were leather jacket dealers and sneaker traders everywhere. … These were shoes worn by the Jamaican bobsled team during the 1976 Summer … […]

  6. Thanks a lot for putting this up, it was very handy and helped me a lot

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