For the first time in 12 years, the Jamaican national bobsled team has qualified for the Winter Olympics, a thrilling achievement that is sure to create a spike in Netflix rentals of the 1993 Doug E. Doug vehicle, Cool Runnings. The team managed to qualify despite not competing in one of the final preliminary events in Switzerland due to lack of funds. The teams needs at $80,000 to get to Sochi by February 6.
Because it's 2014, the Internet has quickly stepped up to crowdfund the endeavor. The team has a PayPal account, but there are at least two independent crowd-sourced efforts to raise money for the team, including one that's collecting funds in the pseudo-currency called Dogecoin. But we have another idea that would get them the cash much faster, much safer, and would hardly be missed by the people giving it away: The International Olympic Committee.
In the four years between 2009-2012, the IOC took in $5 billion in revenue. The vast majority of that comes from NBC, who will give them $4.38 billion over the next eight years to broadcast the next four Olympic Games. (Other networks in other countries pony up billions, as well.) Do you think NBC would like to run a package on the inspiring story of a tiny tropical island that that somehow finds a way to compete at an elite level in an ice-based sport? Maybe they could contribute to the cause?
Or maybe Coca-Cola, one of the Olympics' top sponsorship partners, has $80K lying around? Or Disney, which produced the movie based on the first Jamaican bobsled team that went to Calgary in 1988? Surely some international corporation could donate four plane tickets that will cost them less than their CEO's room service bill at the Sochi Airport Marriott.
The point is that the Olympics are worth a lot of money to a lot people, and that is precisely because of stories like the Jamaican bobsled team and other plucky underdogs who will never make a cent off their Olympic dreams, but drive the fan interest and marketing budgets of the world's most profitable companies. It might be nice if a team that earns it spot in this money-making (but not money-giving) circus could actually take advantage of that opportunity without begging strangers to give them fake coins named after a funny dog on the Internet. Just a suggestion.
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.
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