Devon Harris | Three-Time Olympian with the Original Jamaican Bobsled Team; Helping Audiences Visualize Success with an Olympic Mindset

Devon Harris

Three-Time Olympian with the Original Jamaican Bobsled Team; Helping Audiences Visualize Success with an Olympic Mindset

Devon Harris

Three-Time Olympian with the Original Jamaican Bobsled Team and Retired Jamaican Defence Force Captain; Leading Audiences to Visualize Success with an Olympic Mindset You may not know his name or recognize his picture. Yet his grit and fortitude helped inspire a movie you likely have viewed more than once. The 1990s feel-good blockbuster Cool Runnings sugarcoats the real story behind the original Jamaican bobsleigh team. It introduces four Caribbean islanders recruited to participate in the Winter Olympics. They had not ridden on a bobsled nor even walked on snow, never mind experienced the breathtaking cold of a Canadian mountaintop. The entire world watched, waiting to mock and ridicule them. Instead, the world came to embrace their determination and resilience. Now, nearly 30 years later, Devon Harris - the "Yul Brenner" character in the film - is a widely acclaimed international speaker and mindset-resilient coach. The story Devon tells is far from a Disney fantasy. He shares his journey of climbing out of poverty, risking personal ridicule and safety to succeed well beyond societal expectations. Devon's story is pulsating, palpable, and awe-inspiring. Most importantly, it's rich in relatable "ah-hah" examples for how to persevere through physical and emotional challenges. Of the many thousands who have heard Devon speak, many have adopted his message to "keep on pushing" as their personal mantra. Devon draws on lessons from his impoverished and endangered childhood, eight years in the military, and decisively different struggles to three Olympics. We travel with him from Kingston, Jamaica to the Royal Military Academy in Sandhurst England to the Olympics in Calgary, Canada, Albertville, France and Nagano, Japan. Devon's authenticity strikes home with all audiences. Salespeople, engineers, and top executives exit his presentations uplifted, more resilient, and with their inner-winner fully awakened and ready to rise! When his childhood mates told him he couldn't escape the boundaries of the daunting and depressing Waterhouse ghetto, Devon declared "yes, I can!" When the British training officers at Sandhurst told him that candidates from his background could never pass enough muster to lead men, he respectfully responded, "yes, I can!" When the elites of winter sports told his fellow Jamaican bobbers and Devon that they couldn't earn the approval of real winter Olympians, he promised them and himself "yes, I can!" Defying the odds, Devon did "escape" his destiny of being a prisoner of poverty. In fact, in 2006, he started the Keep on Pushing Foundation to provide supplies, computers, and a breakfast program to his primary school in Kingston so more children could be ready when that rare opportunity knocked. Today, the foundation has expanded its scope to provide practical solutions to enhance education in disadvantaged schools across the globe. Despite discrimination, labeling, and the low expectations of narrow-minded instructors, not only did Devon impress at Sandhurst, he went on to command over 120 soldiers, received a Queen's Commission, and retired after eight years as a Captain in the Jamaica Defence Force. After literally crashing in front of the world, the Jamaican bobbers finished their first Winter Olympics with a valiant effort that earned the respect of their competitors and convinced a world of skeptics that the tropical island men did indeed belong. Devon took part in two more Winter Olympics and helped create and nurture a Jamaican bobsled program that regularly qualifies for the Olympics! We all dream. Some of us dream big. But few have the fortitude to overcome the endless obstacles that enable big dreams to come to fruition. In a very engaging and relatable manner, Devon shares what it takes to find your unique vision no matter what your job or situation is; how to focus, stay on track, and how to persevere past obstacles - get up after you fall and embrace the joy in your noble journey. Speaker Devon Harris is the author of the motivational children's book, Yes, I Can! and the semi-auto-biographical writings on resilience: Keep On Pushing: Hot Lessons From Cool Runnings.



Raised in a violent ghetto environment in Kingston, Jamaica, Devon Harris is a graduate of the prestigious Royal Military Academy Sandhurst in England. He served as an officer in the Jamaica Defence Force, retiring as a Captain.

He is a founding member of the first Jamaican bobsled team which competed in the 1988 Olympic Games in Calgary, Canada. Their exploits inspired the Disney movie Cool Runnings. Devon also competed in and was captain of the 1992 and the 1998 Olympic teams.

He is a philanthropist, creating the Keep On Pushing Foundation which aims to support and enhance the education of kids in disadvantaged areas. At the heart of Devon’s message as a motivational speaker are the lessons he has learned of the power of persistence over all sorts of obstacles in order to live one's best life.

He is the author of the motivational children’s book, Yes, I Can! and the semi-auto-biographical motivational book Keep On Pushing: Hot Lesson From Cool Runnings.

Devon Harris
Featured Videos

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Hot Lessons from Cool Runnings - Coaching for Sales and Personal Success

In this program Devon Harris skillfully weaves the real life improbable inspirational story of the Jamaica bobsled team with the entertaining portrayal of the Disney blockbuster Cool Runnings. He highlights some of the powerful life lessons he and his teammates learned along the way – lessons the audience can immediately apply to both their personal and professional lives.
Suitable as an opening or closing keynote.

Some of these lessons and many more can also be found in Devon's book Hot Lessons from Cool Runnings.

Audience takeaways include how to:
• conquer fear
• employ the extraordinary power of visualization to achieve success
• build self-esteem and confidence
• define success on your own terms
• persist in the face of insurmountable odds

The Power and Magic of Teamwork

This inspiring message sees Devon drawing on his personal experiences as the Captain of the Jamaican Bobsled Team and a former Sandhurst-trained Captain in the Jamaica Defence Force, to show how working collaboratively facilitates group/team, individual professional, and personal non-work related success.

The key ingredients for this power and magic elixir include:
• defining and owning a clear vision
• empowering leadership, and
• having a process of self-evaluation and persistence

Using humor, engaging stories and powerful insights, Devon translates the challenges and triumphs of being in the military and competing in the Olympics into lessons and insights that will inspire them to reach peak levels as a team. Suitable as an opening or closing keynote.

The audience will learn how:
• a clear vision allows a team to remain motivated, become remarkably efficient, and control the direction of change.
• to identify their noble purpose – the far-reaching benefits of the mundane things they do daily.
• to transform their organization by growing their capacity to lead.
• to use the process of self-evaluation to help them move towards their full potential.

An Olympic Athlete's View of Diversity in the Workplace

A fresh look at how diversity in the workplace is not just a legal mandate or corporate ethic - it is fundamentally practical, and brings the best teams to the playing field. Devon brings a creative and inspiring look at how at work, as in the Olympics, what really matters is performance, attitude and teamwork. With humor and understanding that comes from living what he believes, Devon delivers a compelling message to groups of all sizes about how to be more bottom-line successful by embracing and applying the innate strengths of a diversity philosophy.

Out of many; One
An Olympic Athlete’s View of Diversity in the Workplace

Devon Haris brings a fresh look at how diversity in the workplace is not just a legal mandate or corporate ethic. It is fundamentally practical to building the best team for international, national or local competition. With many cross-cultural experiences and understanding the authenticity that comes from living what he believes, the 3-time Olympian delivers a compelling global message to groups of all sizes on how embracing diversity can lead to greater bottom-line success.

Suitable as an opening or closing keynote.

The audience will learn how:
• A clear personal vision supersedes society's assumptions
• Attracting top talent regardless of labels and providing an open, nurturing environment enables peak performance for individuals and team/organization.
• Valuing and maintaining differences can create a more fulfilling experience and greater potential.

Devon Harris
Featured Books

Goalsby Devon Harris


by Devon Harris
Yes, I Can!by Devon Harris

Yes, I Can!

by Devon Harris
Keep on Pushing: Hot Lessons from Cool Runningsby Devon Harris

Keep on Pushing: Hot Lessons from Cool Runnings

by Devon Harris

Keep On Pushing: Hot Lessons From Cool Runnings is a semi-autobiographical motivational book by original Jamaica bobsled team member Devon Harris. In this book Devon has brought together all that he has learned along the way, from his days as a student in Kingston, to his education at the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst, his life as a Jamaica Army officer, and of course to his experiences at three Olympics which changed his life forever. At the heart of Keep On Pushing are the lessons he has learned of the power of persistence over all sorts of obstacles in order to live one's best life. His goal, through the book, is to bring this message of how everyone can keep on pushing and working for their dreams every day of their personal as well as professional lives. The book is divided into ten sections-each section representing a lesson. The lessons are designed to inspire and give the reader tools that they can immediately apply to their lives in order to reach higher levels of success. The end of each lesson features a Key Points to Remember section which highlights the most salient points in the lesson. Additionally, each lesson culminates with an Assignment section which helps to reinforce what was taught by giving the reader a task to complete. Keep On Pushing is not merely a regurgitation of theories on successful living. It is a passionate, personal and authoritative discourse on what it takes to push past life s challenges, conquer your fears and embrace change in order to live the life of your dreams.

Devon Harris
Featured Reviews

When No One Believes You Can Do It, Try Anyway

Dr. Ruth Gotian If you ever saw the movie Cool Runnings, you heard the unlikely story of the Jamaican bobsledding team. Four men, raised in a tropical environment, who never...
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Jamaican bobsled team reflects on unlikely journey to '88 Olympic

by Scott Stump / Feb.07.2018 / 8:16 AM ET / Source: TODAY The dream of the Jamaican bobsled team began with a makeshift sled, a sun-baked concrete track and a distant...
Read More
Topics:   Olympics

Jamaican Bobsled Team 2014: 2-Man Team To Compete In Sochi Olympic Games

Written by Nick Forrester A lack of initial funding hasn’t stopped the famed Jamaican Bobsled Team from returning to the Winter Olympics. For the first time since 2002, a...
Read More
Topics:   Olympics
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