Jamaica made history this year by sending the country’s first women’s bobsled team to the Olympics. But the team’s coach, former German Olympic champion Sandra Kiriasis, quit earlier this week and threatened to take the sled with her, the BBC reports.
According to the BBC, Kiriasis quit after her role was changed from driving coach to track performance analyst. This new role apparently would have removed her access to the athletes. In a Facebook post published on Wednesday, Kirasis shared her reasons for quitting.
“After some distorted facts have appeared in the media concerning my departure as coach of the Jamaican ladies bobsleigh team, I would like to put some things straight. Without giving any reasons I was told out of the blue that with immediate effect I should work only as a track and performance analyst, would have to leave the Olympic village, would lose my accreditation as part of the Jamaican team and was not supposed to have any more contact with the athletes, etc..” she wrote in part.
She also added, “During the preparation for the winter games I have supported the team far beyond the call of duty at all times. For example, I managed to get sponsors and equipment etc. and even rented a bobsled in Winterberg for the competition in Pyeongchang…”
Although the Jamaica Bobsled Team thanked Kiriasis for her service on Twitter, Jamaican Bobsleigh and Skeleton Federation (JBSF) president Christian Stokes told Reuters that the former coach was “destructive.”
“Now that she is off the team, synergy is much better, tension is down and athletes are now able to focus in a much healthier environment,” he said. “We have our high performance director Jo Manning and coach Dudley Stokes, who have been with the team all season and who have been the ones driving performance, so frankly things have only improved with her departure. If you come on the team you have to be a team player. There are no Gods and Goddesses here.”
Dudley Stokes, a member of the men’s famous Jamaican bobsled team, which inspired the movie “Cool Runnings,” sent a reassuring message following the news of Kiriasis quitting, saying that the team has to “keep going,” Omnisport reported.
Red Stripe, a Jamaican beer company, also wanted the women’s bobsled team to keep going. On Thursday, the company tweeted that it would fund a bobsled for the team.
— Red Stripe USA (@RedStripeUSA) February 15, 2018
Please contact us (your DMs are not open) US (315) 558-2302
— Jamaica Bobsled Team (@Jambobsled) February 15, 2018
????SLEIGH ALL DAY, @Jambobsled????
You’ve got yourselves a new sleigh from your friends at @RedStripeUSA!
— Red Stripe USA (@RedStripeUSA) February 16, 2018
In an interview with Jamaica's The Gleaner, Christian Stokes confirmed that the team had accepted Red Stripe’s offer.
“We have been gifted a bobsled from Red Stripe,” he said. “We have accepted their generosity and we are currently preparing the sled. The team is in competition mode and we are focused on one goal – coming to the start line prepared mentally and physically."
In a recent press conference, Jamaica women's bobsleigh team member Audra Segree proudly stated that Jamaicans tend to build off of negativity.
"Us Jamaicans, we tend to build from negativity and doubt," she said. "So if you tend to doubt us and try to bring forth negativity we will tend to build on that- we will not let that get the best of us."
“ Us Jamaicans, we tend to build from negativity and doubt, so if you tend to doubt us and try to bring forth negativity we will tend to build on that- we will not let that get the best of us” #PyeongChang2018
— Jamaica Bobsled Team (@Jambobsled) February 16, 2018
Let them know Audra!