Vice

Jamaica Bobsled Team Crowdfunds Olympic Return

The team qualified for the Winter Olympics for the first time since 2002, but lacked the $80,000 needed to actually get to the games.

By Jake Godin | January 20, 2014

Jamaica’s bobsled team wants to go to the Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia, but it's having to resort to Internet crowdfunding and cryptocurrency to raise enough money to get there.

After qualifying on Saturday, the bobsleders found themselves lacking the $80,000 needed to actually make it to the games. Most of the money is for covering debt and equipment. (Via Twitter / @JamaicaOlympics)

"Those extra runners, the three weeks of training, they’re in debt from a lot of things that they’ve had to incur the costs. … It seems like there’s just a lot more of the equipment-type stuff and debt that they’ve already incurred." (Via ESPN)

Enter: the Internet. Turns out online communities are really interested in helping send Jamaican bobsledders to Sochi.

More than $25,000 has been raised on Indiegogo, a crowdfunding site that the Jamaican Bobsleigh Federation is using to raise funds. (Via Indiegogo)

Crowdtilt, another crowdfunding site, raised more than $65,000 thanks to a fan of “Cool Runnings,” a film about Jamaica’s first foray into bobsledding in 1988. (Via Crowdtilt)

 A campaign dubbed "Dogesled" raised more than $35,000 worth of Dogecoins, a Bitcoin-like cryptocurrency themed after a popular dog meme. (Via Dogesled)

The team even got a sponsorship offer for $65,000 from a company called British ZX Recruitment, though there's no word on whether the team accepted it or not. (Via Twitter / @ZXRecruitment)

So after all this, just how will the team fare in the competition? Well, according to the Los Angeles Times, Jamaican bobsledders have historically done OK at the Olympics, considering the odds against them.

"For a country with no snow — ever — Jamaica has done pretty darn well in bobsled competition internationally. After its Olympic debut in 1988, the team returned to the Games in 1992, 1994, 1998 and 2002." (Via Los Angeles Times)

The Sochi Olympics begin February 7th with bobsledding beginning on the 16th. 

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