In case you have missed the news, Jamaican bobsleigh team has been qualified to the Winter Olympic Games which will start from 7 February in Sochi, Russia. Jamaica will compete again after its last Winter Olympics appearance in 2002.
Two weeks ago Winston Watts, Jamaican bobsleigh captain officially accepted the invitation to compete in Sochi Olympics although he was not sure whether the team would be able to compete due to lack of funding. Watts estimated the team needed up to USD 80.000.
Financial concern went away Monday, 20 January when Jamaican Olympic officials said they and the Sochi Organizing Committee would cover all travel costs for the team. However the team still needed additional fundraising for equipment, such as different kinds of runners for the sleigh.
The team started crowfunding for fundraising online. They channeled Crowdtilt, Indiegogo and Dogecoin. Within days the teller reached USD 200.000. Support came from Jamaican and 49 countries. With this the team does not have financial concern anymore. Now they can focus on the training.
I found this amazing and overwhelming. This is how internet works. Watts said he even had a call from a sheikh in the Middle East who donated a huge amount of money. Jamaican bobsleigh team has fans all over the world.
It all began in 1988 when Jamaica first competed in The Winter Olympics in Calgary, Canada. Coming from a tropical country team was an underdog. It lend spare sleigh from other countries to train on location. The Jamaicans didn’t finish the race, they lost control on the track.
This story is filmed in 1993 in a movie called Cool Runnings.
Some scenes in the movie were exaggerated. The message I got from the story is the spirit to do what seems impossible and trying it. At the end they failed but hey, they have tried.
In real life, after Calgary, the Jamaicans continued to compete in the Winter Olympics untill 2002. By that time they were no underdog anymore.
The hottest thing on ice
When I opened the team’s official website, I laughed immediately. On the banner there is the team’s slogan
The hottest thing on ice
I am genuinely curious about this team. They will compete in two man bobsleigh. Bobsleigh is a speed, power sport. They do have speed allright as most fastest sprinters are from Jamaica. Even Thunderbolt, the fastest man in the world is Jamaican. I will watch it for sure.
Run as hard as you can, get on the sleigh and good luck!
Official Jamaican bobsled team