Sochi Olympics Bobsleigh Jamaican Problems

Jamaican bobsled team reclaims their lost luggage, equipment (UPDATED)

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UPDATE (8 p.m. ET): Crisis over for the Jamaican bobsled team, which has managed to get hold of its missing luggage and equipment this evening. The team confirmed the good news on their official Twitter account with the message: “Have no fear, our gear is safe.”

After qualifying for the Sochi Olympics and then having to raise $80,000 just to make the trip, the Jamaican bobsled team arrived in Russia but were unable to begin training today because of the missing items. According to the Associated Press, that luggage included the runners for the country’s two-man sled.

Watts indicated that he would have to borrow equipment from other nations if their gear didn’t arrive soon.

“We have a lot guys who’s going to help us,” he said according to USA Today. “They want to help us.”

Prior to heading for Sochi, the team had been training at their American base in Wyoming and Utah, where they also made a stop at the Sundance Film Festival to promote their run to the Olympics.

MORE: U.S. women’s bobsledders go by nicknames in “wolfpack”

The program, made famous by the 1993 Disney film “Cool Runnings,” had to drum up that aforementioned sum of $80,000 following their qualification in the two-man event. In two days, fans from around the world had thrown in more than $120,000 before crowd funding was stopped.

Sochi will mark the sixth Winter Olympics that has featured the Jamaican bobsled team. The best bobsled finish for the country overall is a 14th-place effort in the four-man at the 1994 Lillehammer Games. In its most recent Olympic appearance, Jamaica placed 28th in the two-man at the 2002 Salt Lake City Games.

Mikaela Shiffrin wins Aspen World Cup slalom

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With a slalom win today in Aspen, Colo., Mikaela Shiffrin broke some of the barriers she had been chasing.

“I don’t know if the stars will ever align like that again,” Shiffrin said in a media conference after being told she won with the biggest margin of victory in the history of women’s slalom since 1968: 3.07 seconds. “I don’t think [my competitors] are going to let me get away with three seconds ever again.”

En route to her fourth consecutive slalom World Cup title – which would tie the record for the most with Switzerland’s Vreni Schneider from 1992-95 – she became the first female skier to win four World Cup slalom races in a row since Austria’s Marlies Schild did it in the 2011-12 season.

In addition, Shiffrin became the first female skier from the U.S. to win a slalom World Cup race in Aspen. And she’s now tied with France’s Perrine Pelen for sixth overall with total slalom World Cup victories.

“I was pissed after I made that ridiculous mistake yesterday,” Shiffrin said to media, referencing yesterday’s giant slalom crash. Both her and Lindsey Vonn crashed and did not finish in Aspen’s giant slalom. “I tried to use that anger today.”

Shiffrin called the mistake a “brainfart” and Vonn dismissed it because “giant slalom isn’t [her] strongest event.”

But, Shiffrin added that she already has her mind set on tomorrow, where she races slalom again, on NBC at 3 p.m. ET. The complete of the Olympic sports schedule is here.

“I just as quickly have to go back and settle in,” she said. “Tomorrow is a new race. I have to find a different motivation and try to take the same mentality and keep fighting.”

Slovakia’s Veronika Velez Zuzulova was second behind Shiffrin, followed by Sweden’s Frida Hansdotter.

By finishing behind Shiffrin in Aspen, Zuzulova extends her slalom World Cup podium finish streak to four.

Hansdotter has the second-most second place World Cup slalom finishes at 13 total, including today’s race. Only Pernilla Wiberg, of Sweden, has more with a total of 14.

MORE: Shiffrin, Vonn discuss friendship and rivalry

Fencing great Valentina Vezzali fails to qualify for Rio 2016

Mario Monti, Valentina Vezzali
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TURIN, Italy (AP) – Six-time Olympic champion fencer Valentina Vezzali has failed to qualify for next year’s Rio de Janeiro Games.

The 41-year-old Vezzali was eliminated in the second round of the foil event at the Trofeo Inalpi meet Saturday, while Italian teammate Arianna Errigo reached the semifinals and gained the necessary points to qualify.

Vezzali won at least one gold at the last five Olympics in either individual or team foil. She has a total of nine Olympic medals and 25 at world championships.

Her second son was born in 2013, the year in which she also became a member of Italy’s parliament.

Vezzali told the Gazzetta dello Sport this week that “I had another son and it was really difficult to come back. … I don’t think I have anything else to prove.”

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