Root for the Jamaican Bobsled Team at Sochi

(Remember ‘Cool Running’?)

By Shlomo  Maital   


Jamaican bobsled team 2002

   Remember the legendary Jamaican Olympic bobsled team, in the 1993 movie Cool Running?  Well, they’re back, big time!    

    Thanks to an outpouring of support for its online crowdfunding campaign, the Jamaican bobsled team is heading to Sochi with over $120,000 — and a dream 12 years in the making.   On Monday, the members of the underdog team from the island nation learned they had qualified for the two-man bobsled competition for their first appearance in the Winter Olympics since 2002. That elation has been followed by overwhelming gratitude from the team toward its fans, after a crowdfunding campaign exceeded their target goal of $100,000 in a matter of days.

  Team member Winston Watts said,  “the team has stopped accepting funds as of Tuesday after hitting its financial target.”   A campaign on the crowd-funding site, combined with another campaign involving the virtual currency Dogecoin, has raised more than $125,000. Another campaign on the site Indiegogo has raised more than $43,000.

   This is Watts’ fourth Olympics!  He competed in 1994, 1998 and 2002.   He and his team are an inspiration for Israel’s ice hockey team. 

   Today, thanks to crowdfunding, if you have an inspiring idea and can communicate it well, you can fund projects that otherwise would die.  Zach Braff directed the hit cult movie “Garden State” a decade ago.  He managed to crowdfund his new movie “Wish I Was Here” on Kickstarter last April, raising $2 million in 48 hours and $3 m. overall, from over 40,000 people!   It made it possible for him to make his new movie without the dictates of investors.  

      Jamaica’s bobsled team may finish last.  But Watts and the team embody the Olympic spirit, which is that competing is the goal, not just winning gold.   Go Jamaica!  Run cool.