Beer company steps up to help Jamaica’s women’s bobsled team
In just the nick of time, the Jamaican women’s bobsled team appears to have secured a sled ahead of the group’s Olympic debut.
And it comes with the help of Red Stripe.
A spokesperson for Heineken USA, which has Red Stripe as part of its portfolio, told CNN on Friday that the work is in progress to secure Jamaica a bobsled.
“We’re hopeful to have this finalized as quickly as possible,” Bjorn Trowery said to CNN in an email. “We have been working with the Jamaica Bobsleigh Federation to get the final price, but the team will have their sled.”
Official training heats for women’s bobsleigh start this weekend.
Jamaica’s quest for a sled became necessary following the departure of driving coach Sandra Kiriasis, though details differ between the former coach and the team on her exit.
On Wednesday, the Jamaican Bobsled Federation said that Kiriasis “elected” to leave the team. However, in a Facebook post, Kiriasis claims she was “told out of the blue that with immediate effect” that she would no long hold the position of driving coach.
Kiriasis, who is German, added that she did not understand “the reasons behind the decision of Jamaican Bobsleigh Federation and certainly will not allow to be used as the puppet on a string.”
Reports also surfaced Wednesday that Kiriasis would be taking Jamaica’s sled with her. Kiriasis said in her Facebook post that she rented a bobsled in Winterberg for the competition in Pyeongchang but did not directly address if she would be taking it back. The Jamaican Bobsled Federation at the time told CNN Kiriasis does not own the sled and they “do not anticipate any changes in our equipment” or “any impact on the Jamaican bobsled athletes’ performance at the Winter Olympic Games.”
On Thursday, the Jamaican beer company tweeted its support for the Jamaican women’s bobsled team, saying, “No bobsled, no problem. If you need a new ride @Jambosled, put it on @RedStripe’s tab. DM us and we’ll be in touch.”
The team responded to Red Stripe asking to please make contact. Later, Jamaican Bobsled media manager Kathleen Pulito tweeted, “All set. Thank you.”
In response to Red Stripe saying it has donated the Jamaican Bobsled team a sled to use in the Olympics, Pulito told CNN: “We have no further comment on any media stories and are preparing our women to compete. We will be on the hill tomorrow.”
However, the signature end of the email to CNN did include the hashtag: “#RedStripeToTheRescue.”