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Jamaican women’s bobsleigh dream thrown into chaos

The fairytale journey of the Jamaican women’s bobsleigh team at the Winter Olympics has descended into chaos after one of its coaches resigned.

Sandra Kiriasis’ dramatic departure and subsequent war of words between the ex-coach and her former team has cast a shadow over preparations for the team’s first appearance at a winter games.

The German former Olympic champion blamed the decision on a demotion that “would have forced me to sacrifice my reputation and my professionalism”.

The Jamaica Bobsleigh and Skeleton Federation originally announced it was “deeply disappointed” at Ms Kiriasis’ move, calling her contribution “invaluable”. The statement did not give a reason for her departure.

of competes at Deutsche Post Eisarena Koenigssee during the BMW IBSF World Cup Women`s Bobsleigh World Cup on January 19, 2018 in Koenigssee, Germany.
Sandra Kiriasis said she had ‘never known such disappointment’

But the group’s president, Christian Stokes, then launched a furious attack on her performance, claiming she 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…

“If you come on the team you have to be a team player. There are no Gods and Goddesses here.”

Ms Kiriasis said she had “never known such disappointment in this sport in my life” at the move.

Fireworks light up the sky as the Winter Olympics opening ceremony begins
The Jamaican women’s first race is next Tuesday

The ex-Olympic champion complained she was told “without any reason” her role would be downgraded from driver coach to track and performance analyst.

“Naturally I cannot accept to be treated the way I have been treated,” Ms Kiriasis said.

Confusion remains over who owns the sled the Jamaican women are due to compete on.

Team spokeswoman Kathleen Pulito said Ms Kiriasis’ departure would not affect their preparations and they would be on the ice this weekend for training ahead of qualifying next week.

CALGARY - FEBRUARY 25: The Jamaican four man bobsleigh team in action at the 1988 Calgary Winter Olympic Games held on February 25, 1988 in Calgary, Canada. (Photo by David Yarrow/Getty Images)
The women’s Winter Olympics dream has been compared to the men’s 1988 journey

“We’ve been approached by many nations with extra equipment, coaching staff and we’re extremely thankful,” she told the AFP news agency. “The Canadians have offered assistance.”

More from Winter Olympics 2018

The first race is on Tuesday, and Jazmine Fenlator-Victorian and Carrie Russell will become Jamaica’s first female winter Olympians next week if they do take part.

Their journey has been compared to Jamaica’s men’s team also making history at the 1988 Calgary Winter Games, a feat that inspired the 1993 film Cool Runnings.

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