Jamaica (re)starts women’s bobsled team

Jamaica women's bobsled
0 Comments

A Jamaican women’s bobsled team competed in an international race for what’s believed to be the first time in more than a decade on Thursday.

Driver KayMarie Jones and brakewoman Salcia Slack finished last out of 13 sleds that took two runs in a North American Cup event in Park City, Utah. They were 9.9 seconds behind the winner.

The “Cool Runnings” island nation diversified its bobsled program after sending a two-man team to the Sochi Olympics, a dozen years after its last Olympic men’s bobsled appearance and 26 years after its debut in Calgary.

Women’s bobsledders were recruited this summer by new head coach and technical director Todd Hays, a two-time U.S. Olympian. Hays hopes to field the first Jamaican Olympic women’s bobsled team at the 2018 Winter Games in Pyeongchang, South Korea.

“There’s no better challenge in the sport of bobsled than Jamaica with the athleticism that’s on the island,” said Hays, who led U.S. women’s bobsled from 2011 through the Sochi Olympics. “I hope I can round up enough talent to make a run at it.”

Two Jamaican women’s drivers took training runs in Park City last week, Jones and NaTalia Stokes. Stokes is the daughter of original Jamaican Olympic bobsled team member Chris Stokes. Chris Stokes was depicted by Doug E. Doug in the Disney film “Cool Runnings.”

NaTalia Stokes, who picked up bobsled last winter, before Hays was hired, opted not to race in Park City on Thursday to focus on school, Hays said.

Chris Stokes forecasted his daughter’s bobsled career in 2002, when NaTalia was 6 years old.

“Talia likes to wear my helmet,” he said, according to a Los Angeles Times story from 12 years ago. “Now that there’s women’s bobsled [debuting in the Olympics in 2002], I’d like to get a Jamaican women’s team together, too. Maybe we can have two generations of Stokes bobsledders.”

Jones, Slack and Stokes’ push athlete, Audra Segree, all have track and field backgrounds. Slack finished fifth in the heptathlon at the Commonwealth Games in July, when she was first contacted by Hays via Facebook.

Jones, 24, said she had never seen a bobsled, outside of in pictures or on video, until two weeks ago. But she was inspired by watching “Cool Runnings” as a girl.

“Ever since the movie I’ve wanted to drive,” Jones said. “It’s not too hard.”

No Jamaican women have competed in international bobsled since at least 2004, according to the International Bobsled Federation (FIBT).

The last Jamaican women’s bobsled team may have been the one that dissolved shortly before the 2002 Olympics.

Driver Porscha Morgan crashed in the first World Cup race of the 2001-02 season in Winterberg, Germany, and due to injury and lack of money, never competed again.

Morgan, reached by phone at her Norway home this week, said Jamaican officials were so sure she was going to make it to the 2002 Olympics that she had already been selected as the Opening Ceremony flag bearer, before her Winterberg crash.

That said, Morgan ranked No. 26 in the World Cup season standings in the year before the Olympics. The 2002 Olympic field included 15 bobsleds.

Morgan first learned of the Jamaican bobsled re-emergence last season when she watched the Sochi Olympic two-man bobsled on her Norway TV. Jamaica finished 29th out of 30. The Jamaican driver at the Sochi Olympics, 46-year-old Winston Watts, said he doesn’t expect to compete this season but hasn’t retired.

Hays is coaching younger Jamaican men, though.

Morgan, who visits Jamaica once a year, said she remembered seeing NaTalia Stokes when Stokes was a baby.

“I thought that they had given up on a women’s bobsled team,” Morgan said when informed of the new Jamaican team. “I’m extremely proud.”

Morgan’s biggest victories were World Push Championship titles in 2000 (televised by Eurosport) and 2001.

She moved to Norway for bobsled training more than a decade ago, married and has lived there ever since.

Tiger Woods’ ranking drop brings up Olympic question

Aleksander Aamodt Kilde sweeps Beaver Creek World Cup races

0 Comments

Norway’s Aleksander Aamodt Kilde held off Swiss Marco Odermatt for a second consecutive day to sweep World Cup races in Beaver Creek, Colorado, this weekend.

Kilde won Sunday’s super-G by two tenths of a second over Odermatt, one day after edging Odermatt by six hundredths. France’s Alexis Pinturault took third as the podium was made up of the last three men to win the World Cup overall title, the biggest annual prize in ski racing.

This season’s overall figures to be a two-man battle between Kilde, the 2019-20 champion, and Odermatt, the reigning champion, and could come down to March’s World Cup Finals. They’ve combined to win the first five of 38 scheduled races.

The top American Sunday was River Radamus, who finished an impressive 16th given his start number was 57. Radamus’ best event is the giant slalom.

Ryan Cochran-Siegle, the Olympic super-G silver medalist, and Travis Ganong, who was third in Beaver Creek last year, both skied out.

The men’s World Cup heads next weekend to Val d’Isere, France, for a giant slalom and slalom.

ALPINE SKIING: Results | Broadcast Schedule

OlympicTalk is on Apple News. Favorite us!

Alpine skiing TV, live stream schedule for 2022-23 World Cup season

Mikaela Shiffrin, Marco Odermatt
Getty
2 Comments

NBC Sports and Peacock combine to air live coverage of the 2022-23 Alpine skiing season, including races on the World Cup, which starts this weekend.

Coverage begins with the traditional season-opening giant slaloms in Soelden, Austria, this Saturday and Sunday, streaming live on Peacock.

The first of four stops in the U.S. — the most in 26 years — is Thanksgiving weekend with a women’s giant slalom and slalom in Killington, Vermont. The men’s tour visits Beaver Creek, Colorado the following week, as well as Palisades Tahoe, California, and Aspen, Colorado after worlds in Courchevel and Meribel, France.

NBC Sports platforms will broadcast all four U.S. stops in the Alpine World Cup season, plus four more World Cups in other ski and snowboard disciplines. All Alpine World Cups in Austria will stream live on Peacock.

Mikaela Shiffrin, who last year won her fourth World Cup overall title, is the headliner. Shiffrin, who has 74 career World Cup race victories, will try to close the gap on the only Alpine skiers with more: Lindsey Vonn (82) and Ingemar Stenmark (86). Shiffrin won an average of five times per season the last three years and is hopeful of racing more often this season.

On the men’s side, 25-year-old Swiss Marco Odermatt returns after becoming the youngest man to win the overall, the biggest annual prize in ski racing, since Marcel Hirscher won the second of his record eight in a row in 2013.

2022-23 Alpine Skiing World Cup Broadcast Schedule
Schedule will be added to as the season progresses. All NBC Sports TV coverage also streams live on NBCSports.com and the NBC Sports app.

Date Coverage Network/Platform Time (ET)
Sat., Oct. 22 Women’s GS (Run 1) – Soelden (PPD) Peacock 4 a.m.
Women’s GS (Run 2) – Soelden (PPD) Peacock 7:05 a.m.
Sun., Oct. 23 Men’s GS (Run 1) — Soelden Peacock 4 a.m.
Men’s GS (Run 2) – Soelden Peacock 7 a.m.
Sat., Nov. 12 Women’s Parallel (Qualifying) — Lech (PPD) Peacock 6 a.m.
Women’s Parallel (Finals) — Lech (PPD) Peacock 12 p.m.
Sun., Nov. 13 Men’s Parallel (Qualifying) — Lech (PPD) Peacock 4 a.m.
Men’s Parallel (Finals) — Lech (PPD) Peacock 10 a.m.
Sat., Nov. 19 Women’s SL (Run 1) — Levi Skiandsnowboard.live 4 a.m.
Women’s SL (Run 2) — Levi Skiandsnowboard.live 7 a.m.
Sun., Nov. 20 Women’s SL (Run 1) — Levi Skiandsnowboard.live 4:15 a.m.
Women’s SL (Run 2) — Levi Skiandsnowboard.live 7:15 a.m.
Fri., Nov. 25 Men’s DH — Lake Louise (PPD) Skiandsnowboard.live 2:30 p.m.
Sat., Nov. 26 Women’s GS (Run 2) — Killington NBC, Peacock 12:30 p.m.
Men’s DH — Lake Louise Skiandsnowboard.live 2:30 p.m.
Sun., Nov. 27 Women’s SL (Run 2) — Killington NBC, Peacock 12:30 p.m.
Men’s SG — Lake Louise Skiandsnowboard.live 2:15 p.m.
Fri., Dec. 2 Women’s DH — Lake Louise Skiandsnowboard.live 2 p.m.
Sat., Dec. 3 Women’s DH — Lake Louise Skiandsnowboard.live 2:30 p.m.
Men’s DH — Beaver Creek NBC, Peacock 5 p.m.*
Sun., Dec. 4 Women’s SG — Lake Louise Skiandsnowboard.live 1 p.m.
Men’s SG — Beaver Creek NBC, Peacock 5 p.m.*
Sat., Dec. 10 Men’s GS (Run 1) – Val d’Isere Skiandsnowboard.live 3:30 a.m.
Women’s GS (Run 1) – Sestriere Skiandsnowboard.live 4:30 a.m.
Men’s GS (Run 2) — Val d’Isere Skiandsnowboard.live 6:30 a.m.
Women’s GS (Run 2) – Sestriere Skiandsnowboard.live 7:30 a.m.
Sun., Dec. 11 Men’s SL (Run 1) – Val d’Isere Skiandsnowboard.live 3:30 a.m.
Women’s SL (Run 1) – Sestriere Skiandsnowboard.live 4:30 a.m.
Men’s SL (Run 2) — Val d’Isere Skiandsnowboard.live 6:30 a.m.
Women’s SL (Run 2) – Sestiere Skiandsnowboard.live 7:30 a.m.

*Delayed broadcast.

OlympicTalk is on Apple News. Favorite us!