The Jamaican bobsled team may be headed to another Olympics.
The catch: It needs a lot of money, and it needs it fast.
Olympic organizers said Saturday that Jamaica has qualified for the two-man competition at next month’s Sochi Games, though it remains unclear if the fledgling squad will get a chance to race. Funding is a serious problem and sled driver Winston Watts told The Associated Press on Saturday that he’s trying to raise as much as $80,000 in the next couple weeks to cover travel and equipment costs.
“Right now,” Watts said, “we’re at zero.”
They are certainly among the world’s most storied bobsled teams, and that has little to do with results. Jamaica first competed in Olympic bobsledding in 1988 at the Calgary Games, a story that inspired the “Cool Runnings” film. For a nation lacking bobsled tradition, or snowy winters, Jamaica has often fared quite well on the international circuits.
It’s been 12 years since Jamaica has had a sled in the Olympics, with Watts finishing 28th at the Salt Lake City Games with Lascelles Brown — now a key part of Canada’s national team. Brown won a medal at the 2010 Vancouver Games, one where the Jamaicans were hoping to compete but were again thwarted by funding issues.