7 LINKEDINCOMMENTMORE

Around 3 in the morning Monday in Evanston, Wyo., Jamaican bobsled pilot Winston Watts received official word from the International Bobsleigh and Skeleton Federation.

He and brakeman Marvin Dixon qualified for the two-man event at the Sochi Olympics in February. That's the good news.

However, the Jamaican bobsledders still need considerable financial support and sled equipment upgrades in order to compete.

Even though they have a PayPal site set up and money is coming in through other crowdfunding sites, namely crowdtilt.com, Watts and Dixon don't have the financial support they need – about $80,000 is required to send Watts, Dixon, a backup brakeman, a coach and the bobsled federation president.

"It's coming together. I wouldn't say it's OK," Watts told USA TODAY Sports on Monday afternoon from his training base in Evanston, about 60 miles north of Park City, Utah. "We're still not giving up ours hopes. We still have funding coming in and we're still open for fans and companies to come forth and help us."

Watts said the Jamaican Olympic Committee will help with some of the costs. As of 3:30 p.m. ET on Monday, Crowdtilt had generated nearly $35,000.

Watts said he doesn't know exactly where the team stands financially because he is leaving that up to Jamaican Bobsled Federation president Dudley Stokes and secretary Chris Stokes. Both Stokes participated in the 1988, 1992, 1994 and 1998 Winter Olympics, and the 1993 movie Cool Runnings was loosely based on their story.

"A lot of people are coming together and helping out. I think we'll be OK," Chris Stokes told USA TODAY Sports.

While the Jamaican Olympic Committee said on its web site that the team's entire costs will be covered by the Sochi Organizing Committee and the Jamaican Olympic Committee, Stokes said that is not entirely true.

"They have been helping quite a bit, but we still have a long ways to go," Stokes said.

Also, Watts needs multiple sets of runners – the blades on the bottom of the sled – for the different ice conditions expected at the Sanki Sliding Center in the mountains outside of the city of Sochi. They also need more cold weather gear.

"We've been suffering in the cold since the season started," Watts said.

Since Watts learned it was a possibility that Jamaica could qualify, it's been a crazy 48 hours.

"I've been getting calls nonstop," he said. "I just had three calls while I was on the phone with you. I can't even have a cup of coffee."

Will Watts and Dixon be in Sochi?

"One-hundred percent yes – with all of your help," Watts said. "Thanks to all of ours fans. Thanks to those who donate and don't donate. We appreciate the support. I know for fact we will make everyone happy and proud."

7 LINKEDINCOMMENTMORE
Read or Share this story: http://usat.ly/1dprKB7