The Jamaican women's bobsleigh team have been the talk of the 2018 Winter Olympics, but their participation has been thrown into doubt following the resignation of their coach.

The country have never fielded a female team in the sport, and Pyeongchang appeared to be the historic moment, 30 years after the men arrived in Calgary.

That could have changed now, though, with the news that driving coach Sandra Kiriasis - who owns their only sled - has quit her position six days before the start.

The BBC reported that her decision comes after she was asked by Jamaica Bobsleigh to change her role from driving coach to track performance analyst, a position that would have meant her no longer working personally with the team.

Advertisement

Kiriasis appears to have refused, and a statement has been released by the team to confirm her exit just days ahead of the Olympic competition.

Sandra Kiriasis (C), head coach of team Jamaica. Photo / Getty Images
Sandra Kiriasis (C), head coach of team Jamaica. Photo / Getty Images

"Driving coach Sandra Kiriasis has elected not to continue her position with Jamaica Bobsleigh," the JBSF said in a statement.

"We are deeply disappointed in her decision to leave the program. We thank her for her invaluable contribution to JBSF and contributing to the success of Jamaica's first female bobsled Olympic appearance."

Kiriasis herself is an Olympic bobsleigh champion, winning a gold medal as part of the Germany team in 2006, but she will now not contribute to any further success with the Jamaican team.

"I have never known such disappointment in this sport, in my life,' Kiriasis was reported as saying."

"The athletes have told me they don't understand why this has happened as they have no problem with me and we have a good relationship."

Under her stewardship, the Jamaicans had been improving at a rate of knots, recording their highest ever finish in a World Cup race in December.

That seventh-placed success in Winterburg, Germany, came after the team had switched from a Japanese sled to the one owned by Kiriasis.

Women's bobsleigh training begins on Saturday with the heats taking place on Tuesday and Wednesday.

There has been much focus on the women's bobsleigh event, partly down to the hit film Cool Runnings, made about the men's team back in 1993.

The movie loosely tells the story of Dudley Stokes, Devon Harris, Michael White and Nelson Stokes - the four men who rode in the sled at the Calgary Games.

This year, though, the focus in the build-up has been with the women, who have been preparing for their maiden appearance.

One of the competitors, Jazmine Fenlator, did compete at the 2014 Olympics as an American athlete, before switching to her father's native Jamaica the following year.

Brakewoman Carrie Russell, though, has switched her focus from summer sports to winter in a bid to create history.

The sprinter won a gold medal in the 4x100m relay at the 2013 World Championships, and is now set to make her Winter Olympics debut.

"This is one of the happiest moments of my life," the 27-year-old said. "I never dreamed that I would become a bobsled athlete."


To get the day's top sports stories in your inbox, sign up to our newsletter here