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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

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After only 4 days on the ice, @_carrie_russell competed in her first race. I'm am so incredibly excited to be teamed up with such an amazing human being and talented athlete. Thus is only the beginning of our story and the history we are making! Unfortunately after a smooth 7 corners, we crashed. Although we crossed the finish line and we're eligible to continue competing in the race. We have decided to recover, take care of our sled and get ready for the next race in Whistler, Canada. #toughchicks #jambob @jambobsled #TeamJamaica @shitamachibobsleigh_ota_tokyo #BlackGreenGold #race #fast #crash #speed #track #pilot #brakeman #team #history #buildingalegacy #sport #support #fireonice

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Kobe Bryant embraced the Olympics, on and off the court

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Kobe Bryant developed a special relationship with Team USA, international basketball and the Olympic Games themselves.

Bryant was among those who died in a helicopter crash on Sunday. Grief spread worldwide, showing the impact he had across international sport. Images of Bryant meeting Olympians from gymnastics, swimming, track and field, even Alpine skiing, some from him attending their competitions, dotted social media.

Bryant earned gold medals as a leader of the 2008 and 2012 U.S. Olympic basketball teams. He said before debuting at the Games that he valued a gold medal above an NBA championship.

In 2008, he helped spur the Redeem Team to gold in Beijing. He sat down with NBC Sports’ Cris Collinsworth for an interview, describing what it meant to him to receive the USA jersey for the first time.

“I had goosebumps, and I actually just looked at it for a while,” said Bryant, who put off surgery on a torn ligament in his right pinkie finger to play in 2008. “I just held it there, and I laid it across my bed. I just stared at it for a few minutes. Just because, as a kid growing up, this is the ultimate, ultimate in basketball.”

Bryant’s first Olympic game came in a special environment — in Beijing against China.

“When I look up in the crowd, and I see all the USA flags waving and people chanting USA, it gives you goosebumps,” he said. “When I heard the national anthem, I teared up a little bit, and I had to gather myself.”

Bryant stayed close to the Olympic Movement in retirement.

He attended the 2016 U.S. Olympic Trials for women’s gymnastics, meeting the team members. He appeared at USA Swimming’s Golden Goggle Awards, helping raise money for the national governing body. He was the final voice in the Los Angeles Olympic bid presentation to the IOC two years ago.

Bryant’s last words in that video, before the IOC later awarded the 2024 Olympics to Paris and the 2028 Olympics to Los Angeles: “To have the Olympics here, and to have so many different cultures represented, would be a beautiful story to tell.”

WATCH LIVE: Nathan Chen in U.S. Figure Skating Championships free skate

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Nathan Chen tries to become the first man to win four straight U.S. figure skating titles since 1988, live on NBC Sports on Sunday.

NBC Sports Gold streams live coverage of the men’s free skate for subscribers starting at 2:30 p.m. ET in Greensboro, N.C. NBC joins with TV coverage at 3.

LIVE STREAM: Men’s Free Skate — Gold | NBC | Skate Order

Chen, a 20-year-old Yale sophomore, is undefeated since placing fifth at the PyeongChang Olympics. He can become the seventh man since World War II to win four straight national titles.

Five of the previous six went on to earn Olympic gold, including Dick ButtonScott Hamilton and, most recently, Brian Boitano in 1988.

Chen carries a substantial 13.14-point lead from Saturday’s short program, where he landed two quadruple jumps on one week of full training following a flu bout.

The anticipated drama Sunday comes in the battle for silver and bronze medals and the last two world championships team spots.

Jason BrownAndrew TorgashevVincent Zhou and Tomoki Hiwatashi are separated by 8.78 points. Brown, the 2015 U.S. champion, and Zhou, the 2019 World bronze medalist, are the only men in the field other than Chen with world team experience.

Key Skate Times
5:01 p.m. (ET) — Vincent Zhou
5:18 — Tomoki Hiwatashi
5:26 — Andrew Torgashev
5:35 — Nathan Chen
5:43 — Jason Brown

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As a reminder, you can watch the events from the 2019-20 figure skating season live and on-demand with the ‘Figure Skating Pass’ on NBC Sports Gold. Go to NBCsports.com/gold/figure-skating to sign up for access to every ISU Grand Prix and championship event, as well as domestic U.S. Figure Skating events throughout the season. NBC Sports Gold gives subscribers an unprecedented level of access on more platforms and devices than ever before.