The big news from Sochi, aside from side-by-side toilets and creepy shower cameras, is that the Jamaican bobsled team — famous for its portrayal in the 1993 film “Cool Runnings” — has been able to pay their way to the games thanks to an insane last-minute internet fundraiser. Today, we’ll walk you through everything you need to know about the 2014 squad.
OK, so the Jamaican bobsled team is back?
And this is their first Olympics since 1988?
Nuh uh. They also competed in 1992, 1994, 1998 and 2002.
How’d they do?
Now, these aren’t the same people as in the movie, right?
No, that was a fictionalized version of the real deal. Those names were made up.
There’s no “Sanka Coffie”?
No. Although their mission chief is Nelson Christian Stokes, who was on the original team.
So wait. In the movie, they trained in Jamaica with football pads and carts. Have they been doing that ever since, or…?
Nope. They’ve been training in Wyoming.
Oh, that makes se–wait, what?
Yeah, a businessman in Evanston, Wyoming saw “Cool Runnings,” and he liked it. So he invited the team to train in the States.
OK, you said they needed a fundraiser. What’s the story there?
Team captain Winston Watts spent his own money financing the team. Then he ran out. They didn’t even have enough cash to make the Olympic qualifiers. Luckily, their previous numbers were good enough to squeak by.
How much did they need?
$40,000, originally. Then $80,000.
So how’d they raise the money?
Dogecoin. It’s like Bitcoin. It was invented in November 2013.
Wait, the internet just invented money??
Sure. I mean, it’s happened before.
Why the name “dogecoin”?
It’s a tribute to “doge,” an internet meme about a Shiba Inu. He has this weird way of talking, so if he’s, say, admiring a painting, he would say things like “very painting” and “wow” and “much colors” and stuff.
I know, this is kind of a lot to take in.
So let me get this straight. The internet invented money based on a meme, which is the currency that the Jamaican bobsled team used to fly from Jamaica to Russia, to–
FROM WYOMING to Russia to compete?
…how much did they make?
Well, between dogecoin and a few other fundraisers, around $180,000. Because the internet likes fun causes and things from 20 years ago. This hit the sweet spot.
Jesus! Anything else I should know?
Winston Watts is 46 years old, which is eight years older than the next oldest bobsledder. It’s actually a pretty inspiring story, all things considered.
Think they’re going to crash into the wall again, like in the movie?
Cripes, I hope not. That’d be a total bummer. But they did temporarily lose all their equipment due to luggage delays. It’ll make a fun scene in the sequel.
Photo credit: Getty Images
Brian Cullen (@bucketcullen) is a writer in New York City.