Jamaican Bobsled Team Receives Help After Their Van Breaks Down

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Life for the Jamaican bobsled team these days isn’t nearly as glamorous as one would think from watching the movie Cool Runnings. Fortunately, they are finally getting help at a time when they need it the most.

The Jamaican bobsledders are currently traveling across the U.S. and Canada in hopes of earning a spot in the 2018 Olympics. The team competed in Calgary on Saturday, but on their way to the race, the team’s van broke down.

Even before the car trouble, money was quite tight for the team, and thousands of dollars worth of van repairs definitely isn’t in the budget. “We have $1,700 in our account and we have to feed 12 athletes. It’s hand to mouth,” says Kathleen Pulito, the team’s director of social and digital media.

Fortunately, local businessman David Schnerch picked up the team when they were stranded on the side of the road and got them to the race on time. He also donated a vehicle for them to use during their stay in Calgary.

The Jamaican bobsled team races again on Monday in Whistler, British Columbia, which is roughly a 10-hour drive from Calgary. Fortunately, Driving Force, a Canadian company that rents and leases vehicles, is lending them a 12-person van so they can make it to the race. The company is also giving the team $2,500 to help cover gas and meals.

With funds being so low, food has been a big concern for the team. “They need 3,000 calories a day so they can keep up their muscle and their speed and ultimate performance,” Pulito explains. Money is so tight that the team’s coaches can’t even afford to travel with the team.

The Jamaican bobsled team, if they have enough funding, will continue to compete in the U.S. and Canada over the next couple of months in hopes of reaching the Olympics. There is a GoFundMe page and an Indiegogo campaign if people want to contribute to their cause.

Of course, as one would expect, morale is not an issue with the Jamaican bobsledders. “They’re the most upbeat crowd, they have fun, they joke a lot, they’re just incredible people,” says Pulito. “It’s the Jamaican spirit. They have a lot of pride, a lot of determination.”