On Wednesday, the coach of the first Jamaican women’s bobsled team in the Olympics abruptly quit.
And she reportedly threatened to take the team’s sled with her just three days before training starts in PyeongChang, leaving the team’s ability to compete in peril.
German Sandra Kiriasis, a two-time Olympic medalist, reportedly left the team after having her role changed from driving coach to track performance analyst. She also claimed that she was responsible for securing the team’s sled and demanded payment for its use when she left, which the Jamaican Bobsled Federation declined, according to the BBC.
A JBSF representative described Kiriasis as a hugely destructive force on the team.
Now it appears the Jamaicans have moved on from their drama with Kiriasis and won’t be left on the sideline.
The team has a new sled thanks to another iconic Jamaican export, Red Stripe beer.
A line of communication between the island brewery and the team opened early Thursday after Red Stripe saw a golden opportunity to align itself with the Jamaicans.
— Red Stripe USA (@RedStripeUSA) February 15, 2018
The Jamaicans seemed intrigued. And not afraid to say it (or give their phone number out) in a very public setting.
Please contact us (your DMs are not open) US (315) 558-2302
— Jamaica Bobsled Team (@Jambobsled) February 15, 2018
Andrew Anguin, a marketing manager for Red Strip confirmed with Adweek that the brewery was having a dialogue with the team about supplying a sled and jumping on the obvious marketing opportunity to be associated with the Olympic Games.
“As a beer born and brewed on the same island as these athletes, we want to ensure they have what they need to proudly compete,” Anguin said.
On Friday, a Jamaican bobsled team spokeswoman confirmed with the BBC that Red Stripe had indeed “donated” a new sled that will be ready in time for the team to compete in Saturday’s first scheduled training run.
As for the two-woman team, Jazmine Fenlator-Victorian and Carrie Russell are looking to become the first Jamaican women to compete in the Winter Games, continuing the legacy 30 years later of the four-man team that debuted in Calgary and inspired the movie “Cool Runnings.”
They will need to complete two clean runs to qualify for medal competition in a field of 20 teams.
Fenlator-Victorian and Russell finished seventh at the Winterberg World Cup in Germany in December.