Jamaica women’s bobsled team challenges for Olympic spot

Jamaica Bobsled Jazmine Fenlator
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Jamaica is in position to qualify an Olympic women’s bobsled team for the first time after achieving its best-ever elite international result Saturday.

But the standings are close, and there are plenty of qualifying races left.

Driver Jazmine Fenlator-Victorian (a 2014 U.S. Olympian) and brakewoman Carrie Russell (a 2013 World 4x100m champion in track and field) finished seventh in a World Cup in Winterberg, Germany.

Jamaica jumped from two spots out of the Olympic field to provisionally in the Olympic field by a small margin over a Romanian sled.

Qualifying races run to mid-January, but Saturday’s result could prove a game-changer.

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

They became the first Jamaican women to compete on the World Cup in 16 years.

Eleven Jamaicans have competed at the Winter Olympics — all men, and all bobsledders 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.

Fenlator-Victorian made here race debut for Jamaica in November 2016, posting second- and third-place finishes on the lower-level North American Cup before Saturday’s World Cup debut.

The seventh-place finish Saturday put Jamaica 24 points ahead of Romania for the last Olympic spot, but there are plenty of races left in qualifying and 24 points can be made up in one race.

Jamaica is also vying to qualify in two-man bobsled for Pyeongchang after making the Olympics in 2014 for the first time since 2002.

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Mo Farah likely to retire this year

Mo Farah
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British track legend Mo Farah will likely retire by the end of this year.

“I’m not going to go to the Olympics, and I think 2023 will probably be my last year,” the 39-year-old Farah said, according to multiple British media reports.

Farah, who swept the 5000m and 10,000m golds at the Olympics in 2012 and 2016, was announced Tuesday as part of the field for the London Marathon on April 23.

Last May, Farah reportedly said he believed his career on the track was over, but not the roads.

London might not be his last marathon. Farah also said that if, toward the end of this year, he was capable of being picked to run for Britain again, he would “never turn that down,” according to Tuesday’s reports.

It’s not clear if Farah was referencing the world track and field championships, which include a marathon and are in Budapest in August. Or selection for the 2024 British Olympic marathon team.

The fastest British male marathoner last year ran 2:10:46, ranking outside the top 300 in the world. Farah broke 2:10 in all five marathons that he’s finished, but he hasn’t run one since October 2019 (aside from pacing the 2020 London Marathon).

Farah withdrew four days before the last London Marathon on Oct. 2, citing a right hip injury.

Farah switched from the track to the marathon after the 2017 World Championships and won the 2018 Chicago Marathon in a then-European record time of 2:05:11. Belgium’s Bashir Abdi now holds the record at 2:03:36.

Farah’s best London Marathon finish in four starts was third place in 2018.

Farah returned to the track in a failed bid to qualify for the Tokyo Olympics, then shifted back to the roads.

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Kendall Gretsch wins six gold medals at Para Nordic Ski Worlds

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Kendall Gretsch, who won Paralympic titles at the last Summer and Winter Games, added another six gold medals at the World Para Nordic Skiing Championships in Sweden last week.

Gretsch, 30, earned seven total medals in seven days between biathlon and cross-country skiing.

Gretsch won gold medals in three different sports across the last three Paralympics: biathlon and cross-country skiing in 2018 (two years after taking up the sports), triathlon in 2021 and biathlon in 2022.

She plans to shift her focus back to triathlon after this winter for 2024 Paris Games qualification.

Gretsch, born with spina bifida, was the 2014 USA Triathlon Female Para Triathlete of the Year. Though triathlon was added to the Paralympics for the 2016 Rio Games, her classification was not added until Tokyo.

Also at last week’s worlds, six-time Paralympian Aaron Pike earned his first Paralympic or world championships gold medal in his decade-plus career, winning a 12.5km biathlon event.

Oksana Masters, who won seven medals in seven events at last year’s Paralympics to break the career U.S. Winter Paralympics medals record, missed worlds due to hand surgery.

The U.S. also picked up five medals at last week’s World Para Alpine Skiing Championships in Spain — three silvers for five-time Paralympian Laurie Stephens and two bronzes for 17-year-old Saylor O’Brien.

Stephens now has 18 career medals from world championships, plus seven at the Paralympics.

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