The island-brewed beer bought the team a new sled.
If the story of the women's Jamaican bobsled team competing in this year's PyeongChang Winter Olympics wasn't dramatic enough already, a certain ubiquitous Jamaica-brewed beer added to drama when it swooped in to keep the team in competition. Yes, it's not often that beer gets the chance to save the day in the world of sports, but the saga of the first women's bobsled team from the country to make the Olympics nearly left them sledl-ess with just days to compete… until Red Stripe stepped in with a critical offer.
The backstory here, reports USA Today, is that on Thursday, Feb 14, Jamaica's women's bobsled coach, German ex-Olympic champion Sandra Kiriasis, quit when her role was reassigned from driving coach to track performance analyst—a move that would limit her interaction with the team's athletes. But Kiriasis didn't just quit. The 2006 gold medal winner threatened to take away the sled the team was planning to use, telling the BBC that it was her contacts that led to the team securing the sled in the first place, and that she was legally responsible.
While the Jamaica Bobsleigh Federation disputes that she owns the sled, on which the team won its highest ever finish in a World Cup race after switching from a different model, this is clearly not the position any team wants to be in, especially with bobsleds costing an estimated $50,000. So when Red Stripe tweeted yesterday that the company would pick up a "new ride" on their tab, it wasn't clear whether or not the company was serious.
But, it turns out, they were, and, a JBF spokesperson confirmed that the team already has the sled in their possession. As for Red Stripe, a spokesperson explained: "As a beer born and brewed on the same island as these athletes, we want to ensure they have what they need to proudly compete." You can learn more about these athletes at JBF's official website, which is, no joke, coolrunnings.org.