The Jamaican bobsled team is going to Sochi — with the help from the Jamaican Olympic Association, and an added assist from the internet at large.
Jamaica’s governing Olympic committee announced Monday that it will provide all travel costs for the team to go to Russia.
“There’s been so much uncertainty and so many up and downs, but for these moments today, it’s worth it,” Chris Stokes told BuzzFeed. Stokes — who competed in four different Olympics as a member of the team, including the famed 1988 Games, which inspired the movie “Cool Runnings” — will lead the Jamaican delegation in Sochi as the team’s Chef de Mission.
“We’re very thankful for the support we’ve gotten from so many people to finish this journey we’ve started,” he said.
Fans rallied around the team after driver Winston Watts told the Telegraph last week that he wasn’t sure if the team could raise the money to travel to Sochi. Organizers launched campaigns on Crowdtilt and Indiegogo, both of which have raised thousands for the team.
Stokes said that while travel funds are secure, “there are very real cost considerations.” The team still must pay for training camp and other equipment costs, he said, and they are in contact with both the Crowdtilt and Indiegogo campaigns.
Stokes said that they have future plans for the additional money: Keeping the team competitive and financially sound in non-Olympic years.
“We want to make the most of it and collect as much funds as we can,” he said, “so that the next generation of Jamaican bobsledders can have a fair start.”
But with the Games just days away, Stokes says the team has one goal in mind.
“We understand that we represent hope against the odds,” he said. “We are going to do very well and have a credible performance in Sochi.”