Jamaican Bobsled Team Headed To Sochi Thanks To Internet Fundraisers

The Jamaican bobsled team is heading to the 2014 Sochi Olympics, and they have some internet do-gooders to thank for footing the bill.

The unlikely team accepted an invitation to compete in next month’s winter Olympics, the first time the Jamaican team has competed since 2002 in Salt Lake City. But despite the invitation, the two-man Jamaica bobsled team had another hurdle — the $80,000 they needed to raise to make it to Russia.

Jamaican bobsled pilot Winston Watts said that Jamaican Olympic officials would cover all travel costs, but the bobsled team needed to raise money for equipment including runners for the sled.

”The money’s not all covered yet,” Watts said. ”We’re still hoping for help. But I am very excited that we’re officially qualified.”

Watts said he certainly wouldn’t be able to cover expenses for the two-man Jamaican bobsled team costs by himself.

“I just about get by financially,” he said “Beg, scrape, it’s hard. I’ve got headaches a lot of times man, believe you me…”

That is when the internet stepped in. Three separate fundraisers have popped up to cover the expenses, some with no real connection to the Jamaican bobsled team.

One grassroots fundraiser on Crowdtilt already had close to $30,000 in just a few hours. A separate Indiegogo campaign run by Jamaica’s Olympic organization has pulled in another $18,000.

But the biggest boost came from the Reddit community Dogecoin, which conducted a fundraiser using the online currency and came up with $30,000. The dogecoins were converted to bitcoins, which were then given to the Jamaican bobsled team in the form of hard money.

Even though a collective $78,000 has been raised so far, the Jamaican bobsled team could still end up with more.

“If it continues to go viral and especially over the week start to spread I think there’s a solid chance it can hit the $80,000 Winston Watts and the Jamaican bobsled team said they wanted to raise,” said Ajay Mehta, a spokesman for Crowdtilt.

The Jamaican bobsled team are set to hit the 2014 Sochi Olympics next month, with competition starting February 16.