Jamaican women's bobsled coach quits days before team's Olympic debut

Jamaican women's bobsled Olympic medal hopes in jeopardy (2:11)

Mike Golic and Jason Fitz weigh in on the controversy that could derail Jamaica's chances to compete for a medal in Pyeonchang, South Korea. (2:11)

The coach of Jamaica's women's bobsled team said Wednesday she has quit the squad and is demanding reimbursement of the team's sled, which she says she owns.

Sandra Kiriasis, an Olympic bobsled gold medalist for Germany in 2006, said she was forced out of her job when her role changed. But she also said it was her contacts that led to the team securing its sled, and now she wants payment for it.

"After some distorted facts have appeared in the media concerning my departure as coach of the Jamaican ladies bobsleigh team, I would like to put some things straight," Kiriasis said in a statement on her Facebook page. "Without giving any reasons, I was told out of the blue that with immediate effect I should work only as a track and performance analyst, would have to leave the Olympic village, would lose my accreditation as part of the Jamaican team and was not supposed to have any more contact with the athletes, etc."

Kiriasis added in the statement that she hadn't "abandoned the team but have chosen not to continue due to the unacceptable conditions offered by the federation without any explanation and which would have forced me to sacrifice my reputation and my professionalism."

The BBC reported earlier Wednesday that the Jamaican Bobsled Federation, which announced her resignation Wednesday, is refusing to pay Kiriasis for the sled and disagrees that she owns it.

"We are deeply disappointed in her decision to leave the program," the federation said in a statement. "We thank her for her invaluable contribution to JBSF and contributing to the success of Jamaica's first female bobsled Olympic appearance. Ms. Kiriasis' departure will not impact JBSF or its athletes' performance in the [Pyeongchang Winter Games]."

If the situation cannot be resolved, the Jamaican women's team might have to withdraw from the games for lack of a ride.

Jazmine Fenlator-Victorian and Carrie Russell are set to begin training Saturday for their first heats next Tuesday and Wednesday. The pair is hoping to become the first Jamaican women competitors in the sport. It has been 30 years since the Jamaican men's bobsledders made Olympic history at the 1988 Winter Games in Calgary. The men's story inspired the film "Cool Runnings."

The women's team placed seventh in a World Cup race in December in Germany, its highest finish, after switching from a Japanese sled to the disputed sled.