Feel the Rhythm

by Kevin Kelly
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Flickr :: The U.S. Army

Crowd funding makes an Olympic impact

“Feel the rhythm! Feel the rhyme! Get on up! It’s bobsled time!”

Those are the words shouted by Sanka Coffie, one of the members of the Jamaican bobsled team in the 1993 film Cool Runnings, as the team of four prepares to vault itself down the track.

My guess is the 2014 Jamaican bobsled team will not be shouting those words before each run, but I am happy to say that it will not be because they did not have the funds to get to the 2014 Sochi Olympics.  

This past Saturday, the two man bobsled team of sled driver Winston Watt and brakeman Marvin Dixon found out they had qualified for this year’s Olympics. Age couldn’t stop Watt, who will be turning 47 in August, but lack of funds had cast a dark cloud over their celebration.

Luckily it looks like the power of the Internet and people everywhere have come to the rescue.

Crowd funding websites have officially made it possible for Watt and Dixon to go to the Olympics and not have to worry about expenses. Indiegogo.com, Dogecoin.com, and Crowdtilt.com each had campaigns going that allowed the public to support this year’s team. The sites all raised a ton of money and at 7PM last night, Dogecoin joined together with Crowdtilt to push the total raised between the two sites to over $100,000.

As of this morning, the total amount that has been raised between Dogecoin and Crowdtilt stands at almost $120,000. The team only needed $80,000.

Last night Devon Harris, the cofounder of the Jamaican bobsled team and member of the “Cool Runnings” team, updated everyone on the overwhelming success of the campaign on Crowdtilt.com.

“I am happy to report that because of your generosity, we have reached our target much sooner than we anticipated,” he wrote. “With this, we have decided to stop accepting donations on all crowd funding sites as of midnight on January 20, 2014. For those who may still be interested in support the team long term, we invite you to visit www.jamaicabobsleighteam.com where you will be able to make a contribution.”

Fans can’t always make a huge difference in sports because those opportunities simply don’t come around too often.

Most people would argue that after watching the Seahawks play the Niners on Sunday, fans in Seattle make a difference every time there is a home game. The 12th man has done a lot for the Seahawks, but the stadium was built to give fans that chance. Maybe it wasn’t built to let fans cause earthquakes, but it was definitely built to give opposing teams fits.

Even though fans in Seattle do affect games, it just doesn’t compare to this story. The only thing I can think of that even comes close to this story involves the Green Bay Packers.

It is actually possible for the public to buy shares of the Packers because it is a publicly owned team. It makes a difference, yes, but it just doesn’t feel the same as what has transpired with crowd funding of this team from Jamaica.

To be completely honest, I will be rooting all out for the Jamaican bobsled team. I love watching bobsled runs during the Olympics and I’ll be keeping a close eye on Watt and Dixon.

Come on, who doesn’t love a 46 year old Olympian? I just hope when he looks in the mirror he sees pride, he sees power, and he sees a bad ass mother who don’t take no crap off of nobody!

Any day I get to craft a whole piece around one of my favorite childhood movies is a good day. Tune in next week for Space Jam. Just kidding… But not really. That day will come.

P.S. I challenge anyone to watch the end of Cool Runnings and not be completely and utterly moved by it. 

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