Red Stripe Saves Jamaican Bobsled Team’s Olympic Dreams With a New Sled
Just days before their training runs commence, Jamaica's first female bobsled team hit a speed bump. The team's coach quit after having her role altered by the Jamaica Bobsled and Skeleton Federation mid-Olympics. Then she threatened to take the team's sled, because she said she paid for the piece of expensive hardware and had a legal responsibility to take care of it, according to the BBC.
Then, Jamaica's biggest beer company stepped in to solve the problem.
After some difficulties getting in touch, the bobsled team managed to get ahold of Red Stripe, and the offer was real.
"We have been working with the Jamaica Bobsleigh Federation to get the final price, but the team will have their sled," Red Stripe's Senior Marketing Manager Andrew Anguin told Thrillist. "As a beer born and brewed on the same island as these athletes, we wanted to ensure they had what they needed to proudly compete and represent Jamaica."
Bjorn Trowery, director of external communications for Heineken USA told Thrillist that the deal is "100% done!" The company has paid for a new sled, and "the team can now Sleigh All Day." The final cost was €42,000 or about $52,000 USD.
"The games are an honor to compete in, and as the number one beer in Jamaica, we want to help those athletes realize their dreams," Trowery said. "The athletes clearly have no quit, so we are doing our part and putting the cost of a new bobsled on our 'bar tab.' My expense report this month is going to include a bobsleigh on it, and for that, I couldn’t be happier. "
The company has made some loyal drinkers for their support of a team that will make history when they make their first run.
The team will compete Tuesday and Wednesday in PyeongChang.
“It’s important to me that little girls and boys see someone that looks like them, talks like them, has the same culture as them, has crazy curly hair and wears it natural, has brown skin-included in different things in this world” Jazmine Fenlator-Victorian #PyeongChang2018 pic.twitter.com/9vfJ0FK1wL— Jamaica Bobsled Team (@Jambobsled) February 10, 2018
The "new" bobsled the team received is actually the team's old bobsled, reports the USA Today. "It's the same sled we've been in," Jamaica Bobsleigh Federation spokesperson Kathleen Pulito told the publication. "They gifted it to us, and now Jamaica has its first sled ever."
There was some confusion earlier when it sounded as though the team would get a new sled because the former coach had a claim on the sled the team had been using. “I don’t think it’s vague. We’re here with our very own bobsled. There’s nothing vague about that,” Pulito said. The team has made a pointed effort to note that Kiriasis did not have a claim on the sled. “She put a false narrative out there, that’s all I can say,” Pulito said. “If she owned the sled, we wouldn’t have been able to buy the sled. That’s all I can say about that."
It's not clear why, if the former coach didn't have a claim on the sled, the team couldn't have continued to rent the sled as it had been previously. Either way, the team has a sled and is ready to compete.
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