Ja­maica’s de­but marred by res­ig­na­tion

Driv­ing coach quits over dis­pute

Saskatoon StarPhoenix - - WINTER OLYMPICS -

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).

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