Internet sends Jamaican Bobsled Team to Winter Games - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Internet breaks out the coin to send Jamaican Bobsled Team to Winter Games

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The 1993 Disney movie 'Cool Runnings,' the story of a Jamaican Bobsled Team making it to the Olympics, has gathered a cult following online. (Source: Disney) The 1993 Disney movie 'Cool Runnings,' the story of a Jamaican Bobsled Team making it to the Olympics, has gathered a cult following online. (Source: Disney)
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(RNN) - The internet, doing what it does best, is helping the Jamaican Bobsled Team get to the Winter Games in Sochi, Russia, thanks to a movie made in 1993 about a previous team's Olympic competition.

Really.

The two-man team, piloted by Winston Watts, qualified for the games on Saturday. Watts said that it will cost $80,000 to transport both the team and their equipment to the games - money the team did not have until the internet stepped in.

Watts told the Telegraph that the original team of four members had to be cut to two because of injuries to other teammates and a lack of funding – which has been one of the biggest hurdles in keeping the team up and running.

Upon learning that the Jamaican Bobsled Team had qualified for the winter games for the first time in 12 years but couldn't afford the trip, users of online currency Dogecoins called Shibes banded together to raise funds for the sled team. So many people donated that it's actually raised the price of the cryptocurrency.

Watts, 46, who came out of retirement for the games is a previous three-time pilot for the team. He last piloted a sled in 2002 - when the bobsled team made it to the winter games. After that, he told the Telegraph, funding for the team dried up and he moved to the United States, where he has become a naturalized citizen.

The other member of the qualifying team is brakeman Marvin Dixon, a former sprinter, who began competing in 2007.

Social media's fascination with the Jamaican Bobsled Team is thanks to a 1993 movie, Cool Runnings, which was loosely based on a four-person bobsled team from the tropical island nation of Jamaica. Over the years it has become something of a cult classic, and if the recent fundraising results and online comments are anything to judge by, it's a pretty big one.

According to coinmarketcap.com, Dogecoin is the eighth most popularly traded cryptocurrency world-wide. Currently each coin has a worth of $0.0012, or just more than one tenth of one penny.

It takes a lot of Dogecoins to reach $35,000 – which is just below what the Shibes raised by Monday.

Dogecoin is essentially a meme using another internet meme, Doge, to mock the cryptocurrency Bitcoin. However, Dogecoin has real-life monetary value, albeit very small, and is mainly used as a fun way to tip users across social media for popular or funny posts.

Dogecoin isn't the only group taking donations for the team. There's also two more fundraisers on Indiegogo and Crowdtilt. The Crowdtilt pager has become the official fundraiser of the team, after originally being started by fan Lincoln Wheeler.

Late Monday, Dogecoin converted its donations into Bitcoin and added them to the Crowdtilt total, making it top out at more than $100,000, far exceeding the original goal.

Team representative and retired bobsledder Devon Harris announced on the Crowdtilt page that anyone who had donated more than $50 would receive a T-shirt from the team.

On Monday, the Jamaican Olympic Association officially announced that the team had qualified for the winter games, and would be on their way. The association also said it would be funding the team's travel and accommodation costs.

Harris addressed the issue on the fundraising page and said that although they had received word on the announcement, they will still need funds to provide for things not covered by the JOA.

"However, they'll still need all funds from this campaign to afford their jackets, equipment, and the three weeks of training time until Sochi. So let's keep supporting the team," Harris wrote.

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