Sports

Jamaica's Bobsled Team In Crisis As Coach Quits And Threatens To Take The Sled With Her

by Penn Collins

February 15, 2018

When fans conjure up “Olympic drama” they likely imagine it in the context of competition. But the women’s bobsled team from Jamaica is facing an ugly dispute with its coach that threatens to derail the members’ Olympic dreams. 

Next week, the team is slated to make their Olympic debut, but after asking their coach to step aside, the team may be left not just without leadership, but without a sled. When the Jamaican Bobsled Federation asked coach Sandra Kiriasis to transition from driving coach to “performance analyst,” Kiriasis took the perceived demotion very, very personally. 

She responded by quitting the team altogether, stating, "I've never known such disappointment in this sport, in my life."

In addition to stepping away from the team, Kiriasis is claiming “legal responsibility” for the team’s sled, the lack of which puts a damper on the team’s training and competition for obvious reasons. The Jamaican Bobsled Federation is disputing that claim and is maintaining that the team’s participation in the event remains as planned. The organization has officially maintained, "Ms. Kiriasis' departure will not impact JBSF or its athletes' performance."

While the sled likely doesn’t come with a title or deed of ownership, it’s hard to imagine a good reason for holding this crucial element hostage regardless of personal feelings. Amid the team’s pressing need to get their sled back, Jamaican beer company Red Stripe has taken to Twitter with an offer to provide one for the team. 

I’m not sure where a Jamaican beer company finds an Olympic-caliber bobsled in South Korea on short notice, so this may be an instance of milking publicity from the team’s misfortune rather than actually helping, but it does serve as a surreal twist in what might just be the most melodramatic storyline of the Olympics thus far. 

Does anyone have an extra bobsled these women can use? They only need it for a week or so. 

Share image via Alexander Hassenstein/Getty Images.

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