Coach runnings: Jamaican bobsled drama could leave women's team without a sled

If the Jamaican bobsled team’s berth in the PyeongChang Olympics is going to be Cool Runnings 2, our heroes just hit their biggest snag right before their debut at the Games.

Sandra Kiriasis, the German coach of the first Olympic Jamaican women’s bobsled team, has reportedly quit just three days before official training begins Saturday at the Alpensia Sliding Center, according to BBC Sport. As if a coach quitting isn’t bad enough, there’s an even worse snag: Kiriasis apparently owned the team’s sled.

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Bobsleigh ? Pyeongchang 2018 Winter Olympics ? Women?s Training ? Olympic Sliding Centre - Pyeongchang, South Korea ? February 8, 2018 - Jazmine Fenlator-Victorian and Carrie Russell of Jamaica trade high-fives. REUTERS/Edgar Su
Bobsleigh ? Pyeongchang 2018 Winter Olympics ? Women?s Training ? Olympic Sliding Centre - Pyeongchang, South Korea ? February 8, 2018 - Pilot Jazmine Fenlator-Victorian and Carrie Russell of Jamaica train. REUTERS/Edgar Su
KOENIGSSEE, GERMANY - JANUARY 20: Jazmine Fenlator-Victorian and Carrie Russell of Jamaica compete at Deutsche Post Eisarena Koenigssee during the BMW IBSF World Cup Women`s Bobsleigh World Cup on January 19, 2018 in Koenigssee, Germany. (Photo by Alexander Hassenstein/Getty Images For IBSF)
PYEONGCHANG-GUN, SOUTH KOREA - FEBRUARY 07: Jazmine Fenlator-Victoria of Jamaica trains during Bobsleigh practice ahead of the PyeongChang 2018 Winter Olympic Games at Olympic Sliding Centre on February 7, 2018 in Pyeongchang-gun, South Korea. (Photo by Clive Mason/Getty Images)
Team leader and driver Jazmine Fenlator-Victorian of Jamaica corners in the second women's unofficial bobsleigh training session at the Olympic Sliding Centre, ahead of the Pyeongchang 2018 Winter Olympic Games, in Pyeongchang on February 8, 2018. / AFP PHOTO / Mark Ralston (Photo credit should read MARK RALSTON/AFP/Getty Images)
9th February 2018, Pyeongchang, South Korea; 2018 Winter Olympic Games; PyeongChang Olympic Stadium; Ladies Bobsleigh rider Audra Segree leading the national team during the Opening ceremony carrying flag of Jamaica (Photo by Roland Harrison/Action Plus via Getty Images)
PYEONGCHANG-GUN, SOUTH KOREA - FEBRUARY 07: Jazmine Fenlator-Victoria of Jamaica trains during Bobsleigh practice ahead of the PyeongChang 2018 Winter Olympic Games at Olympic Sliding Centre on February 7, 2018 in Pyeongchang-gun, South Korea. (Photo by Clive Mason/Getty Images)
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Given that elite-level bobsled prices can run into the tens of thousands of dollars, missing a sled days before competition is as big an obstacle a team can face. Fortunately, it appears that the Jamaican team might not have to pull out after all, as Jamaican officials denied that Kiriasis owned the sled to the New York Times’ Tariq Panja.

Sled or no sled, Kiriasis’ resignation as coach reportedly stems from her refusal to accept a move from driving coach to track performance analyst, which would have meant no access to bobsledders Jazmine Fenlator-Victorian and Carrie Russell.

Kiriasis is a veteran of the bobsled circuit, owning a gold medal from the 2006 Olympics in Turin and a silver from 2002 in Salt Lake City. Her experience was likely a boon for the rookies as they made history qualifying for the Games.

“I have never known such disappointment in this sport, in my life,” Kiriasis said, per the BBC.

Whatever is happening behind the scenes, a coach quitting during the Olympics is almost never a good look for anyone. This Jamaican team already faced long odds in a 20-team field, but it’s not like they reached the Olympics without surprising a few people.

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