Jamaica has a bobsled team, and it's getting ready to return to the Winter Olympics. Jamaica's team qualified for the winter games for the first time in over a decade this weekend, but it's going to take quite a bit more than skill to get them over to Sochi for the 2014 Games. "In truth, we still don’t really know at the moment if we’d even have enough funds or sponsorship to fly to Sochi itself for the Games itself," Winston Watts, the driving force behind the team's resurgence, tells The Telegraph.
"It's not been cheap."
Watts tells the BBC that his team needs to raise for $40,000 to cover travel and new equipment, though the AP reports that the team is looking for upward of $80,000. "It's not been cheap," Watts says. He's already put £100,000 (around $164,000) of his own money toward the team, which is now looking to raise whatever else it can to help it get to Russia. In part, the team is looking to PayPal to help it receive donations and sell a book on its history. It's actually been accepting PayPal donations for several years now in hopes of bolstering the team — though it was absent from the 2006 and 2010 Winter Games, the BBC reports that lack of funds held it back. The Telegraph reports that even Jamaica's Olympic Association hasn't given the team financial support.
#BREAKING: Jamaica's 2 man Bobsled qualified for Winter Olympics in Sochi . CONGRATULATIONS!!!! #JamaicaBobsled pic.twitter.com/Ns1nnhqn9b— Team Jamaica (@JamaicaOlympics) January 18, 2014
Now returning to the Olympics after years away, Watts has taken to calling his team's journey "Cool Runnings, the Second Generation," reports The Telegraph. From scrounging together money to being an unlikely set of competitors, the similarities go far beyond just country of origin. Following the events that inspired of Cool Runnings in 1988, Jamaica's team returned to the Olympics in 1992, 1994, 1998, and 2002, with Watts competing in the latter three games. But following Watts' retirement, the team has sat out unqualified ever since. He came out of retirement this year and cut the team down from four members to two to save money.
The plan has all worked so far, now it's just a matter of one last surge of funding. "I’m one of life’s optimists. I put my heart on the line for this," Watts tells The Telegraph. "Hopefully, the Jamaican Olympic Association will step in and support us now we’ve qualified."
Update: The Dogecoin Foundation has joined in to help the bobsled team make it to the Olympics. The organization started a charity for fans of the cryptocurrency to start donating, and, as of this writing, $3,156-worth of Dogecoins have been raised for the cause.