Fans of “Cool Runnings,” the 1993 movie based on the heartwarming story of Jamaica’s first bobsled team at the Winter Olympics (aka the most amazing movie ever), will be excited to know that a real-life sequel is in the works this year. And there’s a very 2014 fairytale twist: Crowdfunding.
Only this past Saturday did the two-man team of Winston Watts and Marvin Dixon qualify for the games--the first to make it since 2002. But the problem was they had no funds to get themselves and their equipment there. Watts had been personally funding the team’s efforts himself up until that point. They started taking Paypal donations to raise the $80,000 they needed.
But in an Internet minute, fans and a number of unlikely contributors came to the rescue. The team itself had a campaign up on Indiegogo, Winter Olympics fan Lincoln Wheeler started a campaign on the site CrowdTilt, and the Reddit community of people who use a virtual currency called Dogecoin started pooling their funds to convert to hard cash. (The three efforts all eventually got in touch and combined forces as news of each of their campaigns spread.)
By Monday, the campaigns had achieved their goal and then some, with $112,000 in people-powered funds coming through and the publicity attracting the quick attention of the Jamaica Olympic Association, which promised to cover the team’s airfare. (The other funds will now be used to buy and ship equipment and cover related training expenses.) The Indiegogo campaign still says it is accepting donations, and the team says they invite long-term contributions to support the team at its website, here.
That’s a happy ending if I ever heard one. As Crowdtilt contributor Christophe Thioux commented, “You are what the Olympic spirit is about! Best of luck!”