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Crowd-funding for Jamaican bobsled team surpasses $190,000

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Oh, the Internet. You’re benevolent and quirky. You raised millions for a bullied bus monitor. You funded the Veronica Mars movie. And now, after mere days of cyber rallying, you will send the freshly qualified Jamaican bobsledders to Sochi. Comfortably.

This week, Reddit users apparently raised $30,000 for the cash-strapped team in “Dogecoin”— a virtual currency similar to the much stronger Bitcoin. An Indiegogo campaign has garnered more than $40,000. A Crowdtilt campaign has surpassed $120,000. In total, that’s about $190,000 (and rising), which vastly exceeds the team’s original goal of $80,000.

                                            [ Related: Jamaican bobsledders headed to Sochi ]

So, why are donors forking up the funds? One prominent motivation, beyond watching the elite athletes compete: Publicity. Thanks in part to the Disney movie “Cool Runnings,” which chronicled the 1988 team’s bumpy but heart-warming run in Calgary, the Jamaican bobsledders are media darlings. They showed up at the Sundance film festival this week to publicize their cause and posed for photos with star-struck fans.

One Reddit user, a Dogecoin enthusiast, wrote on the campaign page: “When Cool Runnings 2 comes out, that’s when we get our payoff.”

Jamaica's bobsled team, which qualified for Sochi this week, hasn't been to the Olympics since 2002. Bobsled pilot Winston Watts, a veteran of three Winter Olympic Games who came out of retirement to return Jamaican bobsleds to the Olympics, told BBC Sport: "It means the world to Jamaica. We have dominated in summer sports like athletics and now we've qualified for the Winter Olympics."

[ Related: Jamaican bobsledders hit Sundance ]

The money comes just in time. Coach Wayne Thomas told the Associated Press the team could not afford to race without it. "What we really need now is money to buy the equipment, specifically the runners," he said of the skates attached to the bobsled. "The runners that we are using are very close to illegal right now."

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