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Jamaican bobsled team promotes Sochi trip at Sundance

  • From left, Jamaican bobsled team members Wayne Blackwood, Marvin Dixon and coach Wayne Thomas pose at the MorningStar Veggie Burger Bar in Park City, Utah, on Monday, Jan. 20, 2014, as the team, bound for the Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia, arrives at the Sundance Film Festival to raise funds for travel and equipment for their Olympic quest. (AP Photo/Nekesa Mumbi Moody)

PARK CITY, Utah — This year's Sundance Film Festival has featured two former presidential candidates, rap stars, male strippers and rescue dogs. So why not the Jamaican Olympic bobsled team?

The group appeared at the festival on Monday to promote their trip to Sochi for the Olympic Winter Games and seek some much-needed cash. When the team was approved entry this month, Jamaican officials said they didn't have the money to travel to Russia to compete. Coach Wayne Thomas said some funding has flowed in, but the team is still in need.

"What we really need now is money to buy the equipment, specifically the runners," Thomas said of the skates attached to the bobsled. "The runners that we are using are very close to illegal right now."

2014 Sundance Film Festival

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When asked what the deadline was for the cash, he joked, "Yesterday."

So the team decided to head to Sundance to raise awareness, hoping that some celebrities with deep pockets might want to contribute.

"We're here to let people know that we are here and still in need of funding," Coach Wayne Thomas said, adding jokingly, "And also to see some stars."

"Only lady stars," said pilot Winston Watt, as the team broke into laughter.

For some at Sundance, seeing the Jamaican bobsled team was like catching a glimpse of the movie stars who have packed Park City for the festival. The team attracted attention and happily posed for eager picture seekers in between bites at the pop-up MorningStar Farms Veggie Burger Bar, which has been providing free veggie burgers and other food for moviegoers. It was just one of their pit stops on Main Street as they tried to draw attention to their need for funding.

They'll get an even bigger spotlight when they travel to Sochi next month. The Caribbean island nation's entry to the Winter Olympics in 1988 caused a huge media stir and inspired the movie "Cool Runnings." This year's team says that members of the 1988 team have offered advice.

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