'No Bobsled, No Problem': Red Stripe Buys Jamaican Team Bobsled After Coach Quits - NBC 6 South Florida
The 2018 Olympic Winter Games in Pyeongchang

The 2018 Olympic Winter Games in Pyeongchang

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'No Bobsled, No Problem': Red Stripe Buys Jamaican Team Bobsled After Coach Quits

"The games are an honor to compete in, and as the No. 1 beer in Jamaica, we want to help those athletes realize their dreams," Red Stripe said in a statement

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    NEWSLETTERS

    Jamaican Bobsled Coach Abruptly Quits Ahead of Competition

    A Jamaican bobsled rep said the woman’s team would not be affected by the departure of their driving coach.

    (Published Wednesday, Feb. 14, 2018)

    It played out like fodder for a sequel to "Cool Runnings." 

    With just days before the competition was slated to begin, the driving coach for the Jamaican women's bobsled team quit. Sandra Kirasis, who was an Olympic bobsled champion for Germany in 2006, refused a request to change roles from driving coach to track performance analyst, which would have given her no access to the athletes, the BBC reported.

    Jamaica had leased the sled from a club in Germany, team spokeswoman Kathleen Pulito told The Washington Post. Upon leaving, Kiriasis said she had signed the lease herself, making her legally and financially responsible for the sled. She reportedly threatened to take the bobsled with her unless the team paid for it, leaving the cash-strapped team without anything to race with. 

    That's when Red Stripe, the Jamaican beer brand, offered to help the athletes, who are the first women’s team to compete for Jamaica at the Winter Games.

    "No bobsled, no problem. If you need a new ride @Jambobsled, put it on @RedStripe’s tab. DM us and we’ll be in touch," Red Stripe tweeted on Thursday. 

    The Jamaican bobsled team’s official account responded soon after: "Please contact us (your DMs are not open) US (315) 558-2302."

    Sleds cost tens of thousands of dollars — this particular sled was almost $50,000, company spokesman Bjorn Trowery confirmed to the Post. Instead of buying a new sled for the team, Red Stripe wired the money Friday to the Jamaican Bobsligh Federation so they could buy the leased bobsled and get their equipment back from Kiriasis.

    Torowery said the company internally discussed the costs and logistics and made sure they weren't in violation of any Olympic marketing rules before sending the tweet.

    "Now we have title of the bobsled and we are very grateful to them," team spokeswoman Kathleen Pulito said.

    Chris Stokes, the president of the Jamaica Bobsleigh and Skeleton Federation, told Jamaican newspaper The Gleaner that the team has received the bobsled. 

    "We have been gifted a bobsled from Red Stripe. We have accepted their generosity and we are currently preparing the sled. The team is in competition mode and we are focused on one goal - coming to the start line prepared mentally and physically," Stokes told The Gleaner from South Korea.

    "We have had some challenges in Pyeongchang, but we stand united and thank our fans and colleagues for their unwavering support," added Stokes.

    The Jamaican Bobsled Team tweeted a photo of pilot Jazmine Fenlator-Victorian and teammate Carrie Russell checking out "our very own sled," the caption read. The sled is adorned with a large drawing of a hummingbird. 

    Red Stripe also confirmed to NBC the offer was no joke.

    "The games are an honor to compete in, and as the No. 1 beer in Jamaica, we want to help those athletes realize their dreams," Andrew Anguin, senior marketing manager for Red Stripe said in a statement. "The athletes clearly have not quit, so we would love to do our part and put the cost of a new bobsled on our 'bar tab.'"

    Jamaica has sent six men's teams to the Olympics, including the squad that inspired the movie "Cool Runnings."

    You can watch the women’s bobsled on Feb. 21 on this live stream

    Elana Meyers Taylor's Olympic Bobsledding TimelineElana Meyers Taylor's Olympic Bobsledding Timeline

    Here is a look at Elana Meyers Taylor's Olympic career.

    (Published Sunday, Jan. 21, 2018)