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Jamaica bobsled team helped out after being stranded in Calgary

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The Jamaican bobsled team was back in Calgary, nearly 29 years after its Winter Olympic debut there, but this time it was stranded on the side of the road on Saturday.

The Jamaican team’s van broke down en route to its second competition of the season at the 1988 Olympic track.

From CBC:

Two new members of the team who had never left Jamaica prior to this adventure drove the now-dead van all the way from New York City before its inglorious ending on a busy city roadway.

A stranger stopped to help, transporting members of the 12-person team from the side of the road to the venue not once but twice, according to Canadian media.

It was that Calgary track where a Jamaican four-man team finished last at the 1988 Winter Games after crashing, a story made famous again in the 1993 film “Cool Runnings.”

Jamaica’s bobsled team continues to operate with financial struggles, which were well documented ahead of its return to the Olympics in Sochi two years ago.

There are multiple crowd-funding websites set up to help the team compete this season as it hopes to build race experience to help qualify men’s and women’s sleds for Pyeongchang next season. There has never been a Jamaican Olympic women’s bobsled team.

The three Jamaican two-man sleds were the slowest in the field in two lower-level North American Cup races in Calgary on Friday and Saturday, with the van breakdown in between.

U.S. Olympian Jazmine Fenlator, who has switched to competing for Jamaica, crashed in her one race and did not take a second run.

The next North American Cup is in Whistler, B.C., a 10-hour drive west of Calgary, next week.

The Jamaicans are en route, thanks to the Calgary rental service Driving Force giving them a working van as well as $2,500 for gas and food, according to Canadian media.

MORE: Olympic sprinter misses U.S. bobsled team, still expected to compete

Kerri Walsh Jennings pleased by result after longest break in 5 years

Kerri Walsh Jennings
FIVB World Tour
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Kerri Walsh Jennings returned from her longest competition break since 2013 and, with partner Nicole Branagh, nearly beat the world’s top-ranked team.

Walsh Jennings and Branagh ultimately were eliminated in the round of 16 at the Xiamen Open in China.

“We WILL do better,” was posted on Walsh Jennings’ social media. “We actually had a great showing and learned and battled and improved – sometimes the stats don’t show everything.”

Walsh Jennings and Branagh, a pair of 39-year-old moms, played together for the first time since July 22, when Walsh Jennings’ five-times surgically repaired right shoulder popped out mid-match.

Walsh Jennings, eyeing her sixth and final Olympics in 2020, underwent a sixth shoulder surgery and an ankle surgery and did not return to training on the beach until March (her longest break between hitting a ball on sand since switching from indoor following the 2000 Olympics).

The duo won their opening Xiamen match in three sets last week, then lost a three-setter to the world’s No. 1 team in group play. Canadians Sarah Pavan and Melissa Humana-Paredes prevailed 21-15, 22-24, 18-16 en route to the tournament title.

After Walsh Jennings and Branagh swept American qualifiers Kelley Larsen and Emily Stockman in the first elimination round, they squandered a one-set lead in the round of 16. Australians Mariafe Artacho and Taliqua Clancy eliminated them 19-21, 21-16, 20-18.

Walsh Jennings said before flying to Xiamen that she and Branagh would next play on the FIVB World Tour at the Itapema Open in Brazil in mid-May. In four FIVB World Tour events since partnering last year, they were eliminated in qualifying once, bounced in the round of 16 twice and forfeited a bronze-medal match due to that shoulder dislocation.

Early season partner changes defined the U.S. women’s landscape. In Xiamen, one of those new teams, Kelly Claes and Brittany Hochevar, reached the final, losing to the Canadians.

It marked the first final four appearance on the senior FIVB World Tour for the 22-year-old Claes, an NCAA champion at USC with former partner Sara Hughes, and for the 36-year-old Hochevar, the older sister of former Kansas City Royals pitcher Luke Hochevar.

MORE: Walsh Jennings documents comeback from surgeries

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Watch Dateline special on McKayla Maroney, Larry Nassar; full episode

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McKayla MaroneyAly Raisman and Martha and Bela Karolyi spoke about their experiences with Larry Nassar in “Silent No More,” an NBC News’ DATELINE special that aired Sunday night.

It marked Maroney’s first interview since she went public as one of the hundreds of survivors who said they were sexually abused by Nassar, a team doctor for USA Gymnastics and Michigan State University for two decades.

The Karolyis, both former U.S. women’s national team coordinators, spoke on camera for the first time regarding Nassar, too. Olympians said they were abused at the Karolyis’ ranch in Texas at national team training camps.

Maroney said that at 2011 Worlds in Tokyo she told John Geddert, the personal coach of teammate Jordyn Wieber and head coach for the U.S. team at the event, that Nassar abused her.

NBC News reported that three other people in the car at the time remembered Maroney’s account from seven years ago. Geddert did not respond to requests for comment.

Geddert was suspended by USA Gymnastics in January and is facing a criminal investigation after Nassar, who molested girls at Geddert’s gym in Michigan, was sentenced to 40 to 125 years in prison on Jan. 24. Geddert said he had “zero knowledge” of Nassar’s crimes.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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MORE: Karolyis deny knowledge of Nassar crimes | Maroney’s first speech on Nassar