Beer company rides to rescue for Jamaican bobsleigh team

A beer company has come to the rescue of Jamaica’s troubled women’s bobsleigh team by donating a sled, an official told AFP on Friday — the eve of their Olympic debut.

Jamaican brewer Red Stripe pitched in after Jamaica’s coach Sandra Kiriasis left the team this week and was reportedly demanding payment for use of their existing sled.

The intervention means Jamaica’s women can make their fairytale debut in the Games, 30 years after Jamaica’s “Cool Runnings” men’s team competed at Calgary 1988.

They will take part in their first official training heats on Saturday at the Olympic Sliding Centre, a 1,376m ice chute in the South Korean mountains.

Red Stripe made their initial offer on Twitter, and then clarified that “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,” a statement said.

Kathleen Pulito, spokeswoman for the Jamaican team, told AFP that the sled donation was genuine.

It has been a rollercoaster journey for Jamaica’s Carrie Russell and Jazmine Fenlator-Victorian, who competed for the US at Sochi 2014 and was in tears last week as she described her joy at being a role model for black children.

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