For the first time in 12 years, the Jamaican bobsled team has qualified for the Winter Olympics. But to get there, the team needs to raise $80,000 in the next few weeks for travel and equipment costs.
“Right now,” sled driver Winston Watts told the Associated Press on Saturday, “we’re at zero.”
But the Internet has stepped in to help the cash-strapped team. Still enamored with the 1993 film “Cool Runnings,” the Dogecoin Foundation, a nonprofit organization created by the founders of Dogecoin to use the cryptocurrency for charitable projects, has stepped up and requested supporters donate to the team.
“This is our chance to prove to the world the power of Dogecoin and do something truly great for a national team with a inspirational legacy,” the creators wrote on the foundation’s website. “Feel the rhythm, feel the ride, get on down, it's bobsled time!”
The campaign has so far raised more than $30,000 for the team, which is more than 30 million Dogecoins.
Liam Butler, team leader for the Dogecoin Foundation, said the campaign was started because of requests from the Dogecoin community.
“The historical and cultural narrative of the Jamaican bobsled team as underdogs out of their element is one that appeals to many people — including myself — and this is evident in the response that we have received, which has been tremendous,” Butler said.
Butler said the foundation has started converting the Dogecoins into dollars, since airlines and hotels do not currently accept the cryptocurrency. Butler said the conversion process should be completed Tuesday.
“We started without a clear goal in mind, but what has been donated has far exceeded our expectations and stands as a testament to the strength and generosity of the Dogecoin community as a whole,” Butler said. “At the moment, our plan is to continue to take donations and transfer the funds to U.S. dollars at regular intervals until the team declares that they have met their fundraising target.”
And the Dogecoin community isn't the only one soliciting donations for the team. A campaign on the Internet fundraising site Crowdtilt.com has so far raised more than $20,000 for the team, bolstered by support from the reddit community.
That means the Jamaican bobsled team is already $50,000 toward its $80,000 goal.
Both campaigns raised the money in their first day.
Much rhythm. Very rhyme. So Dogesled time.
Update 2:15 p.m.: Jamaican Olympic officials and the Sochi Organizing Committee announced they would cover travel costs for the Jamaican bobsled team, the AP reports. Sled driver Winston Watts said the team still needed additional funds to cover equipment costs, however.