Jamaica Bobsled Jazmine Fenlator
IBSF

Jamaica qualifies first Olympic women’s bobsled team

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Jamaica, we have a women’s Olympic bobsled team.

Jamaica qualified an Olympic women’s bobsled team for the first time, earning the last quota spot in the PyeongChang field by a slim margin over Romania.

This season, Jazmine Fenlator-Victorian (a 2014 U.S. Olympian) drove the first Jamaican women’s sled in World Cup competition since 2001.

She and brakewoman Carrie Russell debuted in seventh place in December, which put them into Olympic qualifying position. Russell won a 2013 World title in track and field as part of Jamaica’s 4x100m relay.

Fenlator-Victorian and Russell competed in a sled named “Mr. Cool Bolt” after “Cool Runnings” and Usain Bolt, according to International Bobsled and Skeleton Federation announcers.

Eleven Jamaicans have competed at the Winter Olympics — all men. All bobsledders, too, save ski cross racer Errol Kerr in 2010, according to Olympic historians.

Fenlator-Victorian, 32, announced her plan to switch representation to Jamaica (where her father is from) in 2015.

The year before, she finished 11th in her Olympic debut in Sochi with two-time Olympic track and field athlete Lolo Jones.

Jamaica just missed qualifying a two-man bobsled outright for PyeongChang. It is the first alternate if one of the qualified nations returns a quota spot.

The Olympic women’s bobsled medal contenders are American, Canadian and German sleds.

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MORE: Would Usain Bolt make a good bobsledder?

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Olympic bobsled team includes Green Beret, ex-Michigan running back

Sam McGuffie
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The U.S. Olympic men’s bobsled team includes a Green Beret.

Nate Weber, a 31-year-old Sergeant First Class in the U.S. Army, made his first Olympic team.

As did Sam McGuffie, a former highly recruited running back who played at Michigan and Rice.

They join a team that includes Olympic champion Justin Olsen and Sochi medalists Steven Langton and Chris Fogt.

The drivers are Olsen, Nick Cunningham and Codie Bascue.

Weber, McGuffie, Langton and Fogt are push athletes, along with Evan Weinstock, Hakeem Abdul-Saboor, Chris Kinney, Sam Michener and Carlo Valdes.

The full driver and push athlete combinations:

Bascue-Weinstock-Langton-McGuffie
Cunningham-Abdul-Saboor-Kinney-Michener
Olsen-Weber-Valdes-Fogt

It’s the first U.S. Olympic bobsled team without Steven Holcomb since 2002. Holcomb was found dead in his Olympic training center room on May 6. He was 37.

Holcomb drove U.S. medal-winning sleds in 2010 (four-man gold with Olsen among others) and 2014 (two- and four-man bronze with Langton (both), Fogt (four-man) and Curt Tomasevicz (four-man).

The Sochi medals are in line to be upgraded to silvers after Russian gold-medal sleds were stripped due to doping.

Bascue, Cunningham and Olsen combined to earn five World Cup medals this season, all on U.S. tracks. The world’s top-ranked sleds are from Germany and Canada.

Weber has been bobsledding since 2012 and made his World Cup debut this season.

He picked up the sport after reading about Olsen, who won a 2010 Olympic gold medal while serving in the Army. Weber was completing Special Forces training at the time, according to U.S. Bobsled and Skeleton.

“I thought to myself, ‘If he can do it, I can do it,'” Weber said, according to USABS, which added that Weber spent summers in this Olympic cycle deployed in Niger, Cameroon and Afghanistan.

McGuffie, 28, was most heralded as a University of Michigan running back in 2008. He transferred to Rice after one season in Ann Arbor, wasn’t drafted by the NFL but signed with the Raiders in 2013 and played in two preseason games.

McGuffie bounced around on NFL practice squads and in the CFL before turning to bobsled in 2015. He has been part of the U.S. national team for three seasons.

His story is similar to that of Johnny Quinn, the 2014 Olympic bobsledder most famous for getting locked in a bathroom in Sochi.

Quinn announced his bobsled retirement last year, his last competition being Sochi.

Quinn also played Division I college football and in NFL preseason games as a wide receiver.

Heisman Trophy winner Herschel Walker is the only athlete with NFL regular-season experience to compete in the Winter Olympics. He finished seventh in two-man bobsled at Albertville 1992.

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U.S. Olympic women’s bobsled team named; no Lolo Jones

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Sochi Olympic medalist drivers Elana Meyers Taylor and Jamie Greubel Poser and medalist push athlete Aja Evans headline the U.S. Olympic women’s bobsled team for PyeongChang.

Lolo Jones did not make the team.

Meyers Taylor, Greubel Poser and Evans are joined by Olympic rookie push athlete Lauren Gibbs to round out the team.

“Unfortunately, I did not make the Olympic Team but I’m pumped for @lagibbs84 to make her first Oly team and join returning vets @eamslider24 @JamieGreubel and @AjaLEvans,” was tweeted from Jones’ account minutes after the announcement. “They will rep USA very well.”

Jones, 35, was bidding to become the first American to compete in multiple Summer Olympics and multiple Winter Olympics.

She helped push Meyers Taylor to her first World Cup win this season earlier Saturday in St. Moritz, Switzerland.

Jones hasn’t won an Olympic medal, and this was likely her last chance.

Jones led the 2008 Olympic 100m hurdles final before hitting the penultimate hurdle and finishing seventh. She was fourth in the 2012 Olympic 100m hurdles, then 11th in the her Winter Olympic debut in 2014.

She overcame shoulder surgery (November 2014), hip surgery (October 2015, which ended up causing her to miss the July 2016 Olympic Track and Field Trials) and concussion symptoms from an October bobsled crash.

Gibbs, 33, competed in six of the seven World Cups this season.

Jones competed in just one of the first six, then re-entered a World Cup sled Saturday for the first time since Nov. 18.

Jones and other push athletes who missed out saw their chances diminish Saturday morning, when Canada joined Germany as the two nations to earn the maximum three sleds for PyeongChang.

The U.S., which had three sleds in 2010 and 2014, was narrowly edged by Canada in the final quota standings.

“Six push athletes have been battling it out week after week and winning medals on the World Cup circuit this year, but we only have two spots for the Games,” USA Bobsled CEO Darrin Steele said in a press release. “We don’t take this decision light-heartedly. The selection committee chose the athletes they think have the best chance of bringing home hardware from Korea for Team USA. I wish we could take the entire team with us because they’ve all proven how hard-working and determined they are in addition to being incredibly talented.”

Meyers Taylor, the first female bobsledder to make three U.S. Olympic teams, will pair with Gibbs in PyeongChang. They will try to dethrone Canadian Kaillie Humphries, who seeks her third straight Olympic title.

Meyers Taylor led Humphries after three of four runs in Sochi but dropped to second place with Lauryn Williams in the last run. Williams retired in 2015.

Greubel Poser and Evans will share a sled again, just as they did for bronze in Sochi and at last season’s world championships.

The alternate push athlete is Briauna Jones.

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MORE: Would Usain Bolt make a good bobsledder?