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Jamaican bobsled team arrives in Sochi without equipment

Jamaican-bobsled-teamThe Jamaican bobsled team was able to raise over $120,000 for the Winter Olympics through an online crowdfunding campaign. The money, most of which was donated by complete strangers, has been used to cover equipment and travel costs. Unfortunately, the equipment is of no use if it isn’t in Russia with the team.

Two-man bobsled team pilot Winston Watts told USA Today on Wednesday that the team’s equipment, including runners, shoes and other gear, has not yet made it to Sochi.

“We didn’t have nothing — no equipment at all,” Watts explained. “There’s nothing I can do right now. I’m just going to leave it to the chef de mission to deal with it. I just want to concentrate on the track.”

Watts had hoped to get a couple of unofficial practice runs in on Wednesday so the team can familiarize itself with the track. He said he is hoping the equipment will arrive Thursday at the latest. In the meantime, Watts said other nations have offered to lend a hand.

“We have a lot guys who’s going to help us,” he said, noting that the team may borrow runners and other equipment. “They want to help us.

“We’re the most lovingest people in the world. Every moment is positive. We always keep the guys smiling. That’s our motto.”

Judging by some of the disturbing images we have already seen from Sochi, lost luggage is just one of a number of issues Olympic athletes have been dealing with.

Jamaican bobsled team raised over $120K in online crowdfunding campaign

Jamaica Bobsled

The Jamaican bobsled team is heading to the Winter Olympics for the first time since 2002, and the help of strangers is one of the top reasons why the two-man sled team of Winston Watts and Marvin Dixon have been able to accomplish that goal. Through an online crowdfunding campaign, the team has raised over $120,000 to help cover equipment costs and travel fees.

When Jamaica first qualified for Sochi, Watts said that he was hoping the Jamaican Olympic Association would step up and help cover the $80,000 travel and equipment costs. The Olympic federation did indeed chip in, but over $120,000 in online donations rolled in anyway.

“It’s so overwhelming that we have so many fans out there,’’ Watts told TODAY.com on Tuesday. “The whole nation has come together and donated the funds to us. This shows us that people still love the Jamaican bobsled team. I just want to give thanks to all of our fans out there.”

As LB mentioned before, we knew the 2014 Jamaican bobsled team could raise a heck of a lot more money than Sanka Coffee did singing on the street. People love the movie “Cool Runnings.” The team reached it’s target goal of $100,000 in a matter of days. They have since stopped donations so that fans don’t think they’re being excessive.

“We don’t want it to go beyond the amount that has been raised because we hit our quota,” Watts said. “We don’t want anyone thinking, ‘Those guys are crooks.’ We want people to have positive thoughts about us from this little tiny island. When next season comes and we start our fundraising, we want people to know these guys are legit.”

The additional money will be used for equipment upgrades and training, so it’s not as if Watts and Dixon are pocketing the money. The team needs multiple sets of runners (or blades) for its sled, which can cost between $15,000 and $20,000 per set. Watts said the set the team used to qualify was almost illegal because it was so outdated.

Needless to say, there were thousands of people who felt the rhythm and felt the rhyme. It’ll be hard not to pull for these guys in Sochi.

Cool Runnings: Jamaica bobsled team may have qualified for Sochi Olympics

Jamaica Bobsled

For the first time since 2002, it looks like Jamaica will have a bobsled team in the Winter Olympics.

Jamaica’s two-man sled of Winston Watts and Marvin Dixon needed to be in the top 30 of the world rankings as of Jan. 20 in order to qualify for the Sochi Games, and they accomplished that with a clean run at qualifying in St. Moritz, Switzerland. Because the team is ranked 30th in the world, the Sochi Games announced on Twitter Saturday that the Jamaican sled qualified for the competition next month. However, things are not official until the International Bobsleigh & Skeleton Federation announces the field of competition.

That didn’t stop Team Jamaica from sending this awesome tweet on Saturday:

What’s ironic about the story is that much like the fantastic 1993 movie “Cool Runnings” about the Jamaican bobsled team that competed in the 1988 Winter Games in Calgary, this team says it needs funding in order to participate in Sochi. Watts told The Associated Press that he is aiming to raise $80,000 to cover travel and equipment costs and he’s hoping the country’s Olympic federation will step up and sponsor them now that they’ve qualified.

I don’t even think Watts needs to worry about that. If every fan of “Cool Runnings” donated a dollar to the cause, you know how much money they’d raise? A heck of a lot more than Sanka Coffee did singing on the street.

Feel the rhythm, feel the rhyme, get on up, it’s bobsled time!