Jamaica Observer / Pyeongchang , South Korea (AFP) — The fairy-tale journey of Jamaica’s first female Winter Olympics team hit a major bump yesterday when its bobsleigh coach quit just days before they were due to compete in Pyeongchang. In a message on their Twitter account, the trailblazing Jamaica bobsled team announced that their driving coach — former Olympian Sandra Kiriasis — had left.
“Sandra Kiriasis has elected not to continue her position with Jamaica Bobsleigh,” the statement said.
“We are deeply disappointed in her decision to leave the program. We thank her for her invaluable contribution to JBSF and contributing to the success of Jamaica’s first female bobsled Olympic appearance,” it added.
The announcement gave no reason for why Kiriasis had made such an abrupt departure.
The Jamaican team is making history in South Korea as the Caribbean island’s first female Winter Olympic competitors.
Their participation comes 30 years after a men’s bobsleigh team made a historic appearance at the 1988 Calgary games, a feat that provided the inspiration for the 1993 movie Cool Runnings .
Kathleen Pulito, a spokeswoman for the team, said the departure of the German-born coach would not impact their preparations and they would be on the ice this weekend for training ahead of qualifying next week.
“We’ve been approached by many nations with extra equipment, coaching staff and we’re extremely thankful,” Pulito told AFP . “The Canadians have offered assistance.”
Kiriasis, 43, won a gold medal in the two-woman bobsleigh at the Turin Olympics in 2006 and a silver in the event in Salt Lake City in 2002.