Jamaican bobsled team coach abruptly quits, may take sled with her
“Cool Runnings,” this is not.
While the 1993 film loosely depicting Jamaica’s first bobsled team featured an initially gruff and disagreeable coach, Irving Blitzer did eventually opt to stay and coach.
Coach Sandra Kiriasis? From all indications, she is gone and will stay gone.
She might even take the bobsled with her.
Jamaican women’s bobsled coach Sandra Kiriasis abruptly left her post after her role was changed from driving coach to track performance analyst, per BBC.
Kiriasis’ big issue with the change stems from the fact that her newly assigned role would have zero interaction with the athletes.
“I’ve never known such disappointment in this sport in my life,” she said.
To make the separation even uglier, there is also a brewing dispute over the legal ownership of the team’s sled.
Kiriasis claims she is legally responsible for the sled and would like payment for it.
She also contends that it’s her connections that helped procure the sled.
The Jamaica Bobsleigh and Skeleton Federation refused to pay and is disputing the ownership of the sled.
The sled is not an insignificant issue. The bobsled team notched its best finish ever during a World Cup race in December after switching from a Japanese sled to the model currently being fought over.
Official training is slated to start Saturday for the bobsled team, with key heats coming Tuesday and Wednesday.
Distracting drama such as this is the last thing any Olympian needs just days before competition.
But Kiriasis claims her abrupt departure hasn’t affected her former wards too much.
“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 JBSF also seems to think that things will continue unabated even with Kiriasis’ departure.
“Sandra Kiriasis has elected not to continue her position. We are deeply disappointed in her decision to leave the programme,” the federation said in a statement. “We thank her for her invaluable contribution and contributing to the success of Jamaica’s first female bobsled Olympic appearance. …
“Ms. Kiriasis’ departure will not impact JBSF or its athletes’ performance.”
Kiriasis, 43, won a gold medal for Germany in the 2006 Winter Olympics.
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