The Jamaican bobsled team kept their sled after help from the unlikeliest source — Red Stripe.
- The Jamaican women’s bobsled team were left without a sled when their coach left the team.
- Beer company Red Stripe stepped in and offered to get the team a new sled, which can cost tens of thousands of dollars.
- Instead, Red Stripe bought out the sled from their former coach for $50,000.
Under somewhat confusing circumstances, their coach, Sandra Kiriasis, quit after allegedly being reassigned from coach to track performance analyst, which she said would have kept her from the team. The Jamaican Bobsled and Skeleton Federation, however, said that Kiriasis “elected” to leave the team and they were disappointed with her decision.
Upon leaving, Kiriasis said she had leased the team’s sled from a contact in Germany, and although it was for the Jamaican team, she had signed the lease herself, making her legally and financially responsible for the sled. She reportedly would not return it unless the team paid for the sled.
That’s when beer company Red Stripe stepped in and saved the day. Red Stripe, the No. 1 beer in Jamaica, first tweeted at the team.
According to The Washington Post, Red Stripe then discussed the terms with the team. Sleds cost tens of thousands of dollars — this particular sled was $50,000. Instead of buying a new sled for the team, Red Stripe wired the money to the team to get their sled back from Kiriasis.
“My expense report this month will include a bobsleigh on it,” company spokesman Bjorn Trowery said. 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. He said it’s been a “whirlwind” since.
A general manager for Red Stripe told NBC Olympics: “This is not a 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. The athletes clearly have no quit, so we would love to do our part and put the cost of a new bobsled on our ‘bar tab.'”
The Jamaican women aren’t medal favorites, but at least they have their sled. And in classic Olympic fashion, help came from an unexpected source — a beer company.