Warren Weir, Usain Bolt, Yohan Blake

Usain Bolt not on Jamaica team for IAAF World Relays

Leave a comment

The world’s best sprinter is not going to the first IAAF World Relays, but just about every other top Jamaican man is.

Jamaica’s track and field association announced its team Wednesday for the Nassau, Bahamas, event from May 24-25.

It includes every member of Jamaica’s 4x100m relay teams that won gold at the 2012 Olympics and 2013 World Championships, except Usain Bolt, who is not expected to make his 2014 debut until June.

Jamaica should still be favored to win the 4x100m and perhaps the 4x200m at the IAAF World Relays without him. Their arsenal includes Olympic 4x100m relay champions Yohan BlakeNesta CarterMichael Frater and Kemar Bailey-Cole and Nickel AshmeadeOshane Bailey and Warren Weir, who were on the 2013 World Championship-winning 4x100m team.

Blake, who missed much of last season with hamstring problems, said the injury is behind him. He looks like his “old self,” his coach says. Blake beat Bolt at the 2012 Jamaican Olympic Trials in both the 100m and 200m but took silver in the Olympic races.

The U.S., silver medalists at the Olympics (pending the Tyson Gay issue) and World Championships, will be without Gay and Olympic 100m bronze medalist Justin Gatlin at the IAAF World Relays.

The World Relays consist of 4x100m, 4x200m, 4x400m, 4x800m and 4x1500m races for men and women.

The Jamaican women’s team, also the reigning world 4x100m champions, includes the top active sprinter, triple 2013 world champion Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce. She’ll be joined by every member of the Jamaican 4x100m relay team at the 2013 World Championships that beat the U.S. by nearly 1.5 seconds.

Missing is Olympic sprint medalists Veronica Campbell-Brown and the suspended Sherone Simpson.

The U.S. women’s team is without its top 100m and 200m runners from the 2012 Olympics — Carmelita Jeter and Allyson Felix.

U.S. roster highlights for IAAF World Relays

Olympic skater Nancy Kerrigan remembers slain Colorado officer, a childhood friend

Nancy Kerrigan
Leave a comment

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. — Former figure skating champion Nancy Kerrigan remembers the Colorado police officer who was killed in a shooting at a Planned Parenthood clinic as loyal, caring and a true friend.

She told media outlets that Garrett Swasey was “one of my best friends” as they grew up together practicing figure skating in Melrose, Massachusetts. Before he became a police officer, Swasey was a junior national couples ice dancing champion.

An emotional Kerrigan says she wasn’t surprised he took a career path where he helped others first. She says he always had fun and did everything with a smile.

Swasey’s father has told the Boston Globe that his son moved to Colorado in the 1980s to pursue competitive figure skating and became an officer six years ago.

MORE: Hanyu, Miyahara into Grand Prix final with wins at NHK Trophy

Kobe Bryant announces retirement but remains in contention for Rio team

Kobe Bryant
Leave a comment

Veteran basketball player and 2008 and 2012 Olympic gold medalist Kobe Bryant has announced he will retire from professional basketball after the end of this season. However, ESPN reported that the chairman of USA Basketball, Jerry Colangelo, said that Bryant “remains in contention for Team USA spot for Rio 2016.”

In the form of a poem titled “Dear Basketball” on the Player’s Tribune, Bryant wrote:

This season is all I have left to give.
My heart can take the pounding
My mind can handle the grind
But my body knows it’s time to say goodbye.

Bryant played on the U.S. national team from 2007 to 2012. At the 2008 Beijing Olympics he scored 20 points in the gold medal game to win gold over Spain. He helped the U.S. men to gold again in 2012, then said that it would be his last Olympics.

But he’s changed his tune in recent months. Bryant told the Associated Press in November that he’d like a shot at another Olympics.

“I would like to play,” Bryant said. “I think it’d be awesome. A beautiful experience.”

If he were selected and won again, Bryant, LeBron James, Chris Paul and Carmelo Anthony would become the first U.S. male basketball players to win three gold Olympic medals.

In the AP interview Bryant spoke glowingly of his Olympic teammates. “It would mean the world to me to be around those guys,” he said. “I think to be able to have a chance to continue the relationship that I already have with most of those guys, talking and just kind of being around each other and understanding that this is it, it’s just us being together, that would be fun.”

He also said he believes he’d be an asset to the team, stating, “I feel like I can add value from a leadership perspective and a defensive perspective. I can still move extremely well defensively.”

Bryant’s age will likely be a concern, as his 38th birthday is just two days after the gold-medal game on August 21st, 2016.

Colangelo said that they will be looking at “all of our players” this season, and Bryant’s retirement announcement “doesn’t have any bearing” on whether he’d be selected for the 2016 Olympic team.

The 12 player team will be selected in June 2016.

MORE: World records fall at Weightlifting World Championships