The Jamaican women’s bobsled team is set to make their Olympic debut next week, 30 years after the Jamaican men’s bobsled team made their historic debut at the Calgary Olympics. That’s the hope, anyway. Just a week before their first heats, the team has been engulfed by drama, and may not even have a sled to compete with.
Coach Sandra Kiriasis says that the Jamaican Bobsled Federation asked her to step down as driving coach to become a “performance analyst,” which would force her away from the track and the athletes themselves. “I’ve never known such disappointment in this sport, in my life,” she said. Kiriasis also claimed legal responsibility for the sled that Jazmine Fenlator-Victorian, Carrie Russell, and Audra Segree were set to make history in, and she is apparently refusing to relinquish the sled until she’s compensated for it.
For their part, the JBF adamantly deny any wrongdoing, and president Christian Stokes took a big ole shit on “the lady” on her way out:
The lady was a hugely destructive force on the team. 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.
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.
While the JBF says that they’ll compete as scheduled on their sled, Kiriasis seems devastated and unwilling to compromise. “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,” she said. The team will begin practicing on Saturday, with qualifying heats on Tuesday and Wednesday.