SBD/January 21, 2014/Olympics

Olympic Notes: Crowdfunding Helps Send Jamaican Bobsled Team To Sochi

Seventy percent of online funding for the Jamaican bobsled team came from the U.S.
In Jamaica, Andre Lowe notes the Jamaica Olympic Association yesterday announced that it will "cover all transportation expenses for the island's bobsled team, after it was officially announced that it had qualified" for the Sochi Games. In just under 24 hours, US$68,967 had been "raised through online crowd-funding platforms." Jamaica bobsled team member Winston Watts in an earlier interview noted that the team "was in need of close to US$120,000 to bankroll its trip to Sochi, pointing to transportation and accommodation, as well as the need for three sled blades as the main expenses" (Jamaica GLEANER, 1/21). Fundraising site Crowdtilt said that about 70% of the contributions "have come from U.S.-based credit and debit cards in at least 42 states," while around 20% of the contributions "have come from payments of Jamaican origin" (ESPN.com, 1/20).

NOT THIS TIME AROUND: QMI AGENCY's Peat & Artuso noted Toronto Economic Development Committee members yesterday voted to "put off indefinitely further study of an Olympic bid" for the '24 Summer Games. Mayor Rob Ford "stressed that a possible Olympic bid could end up costing" C$50M. Ford said, "If we got it, it would be billions of dollars ... We're not ready for it, let's concentrate on the Pan Am Games" (QMI AGENCY, 1/20). In Toronto, Betsy Powell notes no one at city hall yesterday tried to "persuade the committee to support the city's Olympic bid" (TORONTO STAR, 1/21).

OUT OF REACH: In Philadelphia, Frank Fitzpatrick noted a "serious deterrent" to the city's '24 Olympic hopes "is its financial status." No matter "how rosy Comcast's future might look, no matter how much influence and cash it might contribute to the effort, no matter how encouraging Center City's revival has been, Philadelphia can't yet afford an Olympics." Fitzpatrick: "How could a city grappling with a $5 billion pension shortfall and a $1.3 billion school-budget deficit rationalize spending five or 10 times that much on a sporting event?" Even the "bid process would be expensive." For its part, Philadelphia "bravely still counts itself a ... candidate," but it "doesn't have a water-ice's chance in hell" (PHILADELPHIA INQUIRER, 1/19).

ENGAGEMENT RINGS: In N.Y., Kelly DiNardo noted the Olympic Museum in Lausanne, Switzerland, "reopened in December" after a two-year, $60M renovation that "almost doubled its size and transformed the way the museum traces Olympics history from chronological to thematic." Museum Dir Francis Gabet said, "We planned it like a film. We worked with thematic clusters like a story-board" (N.Y. TIMES, 1/19).
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