Jamaica’s debut marred by resignation
Driving coach quits over dispute
The Jamaican women’s bobsled team already faced tremendous odds at achieving anything close to a medal at this year’s Winter Olympics and now its challenge has gotten that much more arduous: Sandra Kiriasis, the team’s German driving coach, has quit only days before competition was set to begin.
According to the BBC, team officials asked Kiri as is to change her role from driving coach to track performance analyst. She refused as it would have meant she would have no access to team members Jazmine Fenlator-Victorian and Carrie Russell, who comprise Jamaica’s first Olympic women’s bobsled team and are the first women from Jamaica to compete at the Winter Games.
Kiriasis, who won women’s bobsled gold at the 2006 Turin Games and silver four years earlier in Salt Lake City, became the team’s driving coach late last year.
“I have never known such disappointment in this sport in my life,” she told the BBC. “The athletes have told me they don’t understand why this has happened as they have no problem with me and we have a good relationship.”
According to multiple reports, Kiriasis owns the sled being used by the Jamaicans. Should she decide to take it away from them, it likely would require them to withdraw from the competition (team officials denied to The New York Times that it plans to pull out).