'Beer support!' ... Ja's bobsled team receives sled from Red Stripe
The Jamaica Bobsled and Skeleton Federation (JBSF) has received a much needed gift – a sled courtesy of world-renowned beer brand Red Stripe, just days ahead of their participation at the Winter Olympic Games in Pyeongchang, South Korea.
It's a gesture that has left JBSF president Chris Stokes extremely moved by the show of support from the company as well as fans from around the world and he believes the team is primed to do well at the showpiece event.
"We have been gifted a bobsled from Red Stripe. We have accepted their generosity and we are currently preparing the sled. The team is in competition mode and we are focused on one goal - coming to the start line prepared mentally and physically," Stokes told The Gleaner from South Korea.
"We have had some challenges in Pyeongchang, but we stand united and thank our fans and colleagues for their unwavering support," added Stokes.
Jazmine Fenlator-Victorian and Carrie Russell’s history making qualification for the Two-Woman Bobsled event, which starts next week, seemed to be under threat when things took a less-than-ideal turn after driving coach Sandra Kiriasis quit the team after a role dispute with the JBSF on Wednesday (Jamaica time).
Kiriasis also threatened to take with her, the team’s sled, which she says she owned - a claim that was disputed by the JBSF.
This led to the beer company offering, through a post on social media, to provide a sled as a gift for the Jamaicans.
“No bobsled, no problem, if you need a new ride @Jambobsled, put it on @Red Stripe’s tab. DM us and we’ll be in touch,” offered Red Stripe through a post on Twitter on Thursday.
Hours later, contact was established between Red Stripe and JBSF with the bobsled officials accepting the gift from Red Stripe, who purchased the sled in question on behalf of the JBSF ahead of the team’s first training run at the Alpensia Sliding Centre.
The cost for the piece of equipment, which was actually being used by the Jamaicans on the World Cup circuit since December, was not immediately available but a new top quality sled currently cost in the region of €45,000 ($7 million).
Prior to making direct contact with Stokes, Red Stripe’s Andrew Anguin, Senior Marketing Manager for Caribbean Imports, underlined the value of the gift and noted that the company was open to the possibility of a long term relationship with Jamaican bobsled post Winter Olympics.
“We just saw the entire story unfolding and as the ‘national beer of Jamaica’ we thought it very important to be involved in the conversation especially in the US where it’s very important for us to ground ourselves in that Jamaican authenticity and we wanted to show that we were truly supporting the brand at home and abroad,” Anguin told The Gleaner.
Russell and Fenlator-Victorian are set to slide into action in the Two-Woman Bobsled competition on February 20th.