Jamaica Bobsled Jazmine Fenlator
IBSF

Jamaica women’s bobsled team challenges for Olympic spot

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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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Hayley Wickenheiser is 7th woman elected to Hockey Hall of Fame

Hayley Wickenheiser
AP
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Hayley Wickenheiser, arguably the greatest female hockey player of all time who retired in 2017, will be the seventh female player in the Hockey Hall of Fame.

The six-time Canadian Olympian (once in softball) was elected in her first year of eligibility. Wickenheiser is joined by Sergei Zubov, who earned gold at the 1992 Albertville Games with the Unified Team, two-time Czech Olympic medalist Václav Nedomanský and 1980s and ’90s NHLer Guy Carbonneau, among others.

The induction ceremony is Nov. 18 in Toronto.

Wickenheiser is the fifth Canadian female player elected after Angela James (2010), Geraldine Heaney (2013), Danielle Goyette (2017) and Jayna Hefford (2018). Americans Cammi Granato (2010) and Angela Ruggiero (2015) are also Hall of Famers.

Wickenheiser, now the Toronto Maple Leafs’ assistant director of player development, earned four golds and one silver in the first five Olympic women’s hockey tournaments. She played 23 years for the Canadian national team, earning seven world titles and being named Olympic tournament MVP in 2002 and 2006.

She also carried the Canadian flag at the Sochi 2014 Opening Ceremony and recited the Athletes’ Oath at the Vancouver 2010 Opening Ceremony. She was elected to the International Olympic Committee Athletes’ Commission in 2014.

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Breaking provisionally added for 2024 Olympics

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Breaking (don’t call it break dancing) was provisionally added to the Olympics for the 2024 Paris Games.

The IOC also announced Tuesday that skateboarding, sport climbing and surfing were provisionally added to the 2024 Olympic program. Those three sports will debut at Tokyo 2020 but were not assured places on the Olympic program beyond next year.

“They contribute to making the program more gender balanced and more urban, and offer the opportunity to connect with the younger generation,” IOC President Thomas Bach said in a press release. “The proposed sports are in line with these principles and enhance Paris 2024’s overall dynamic Games concept, which focuses on inclusivity, inspiring a new audience and hosting socially responsible Games.”

The IOC Executive Board will make the final decision on the Paris 2024 event program in December 2020, but no more sports can be proposed for inclusion. That means baseball and softball, which return to the Olympics next year, will not be on the 2024 Olympic program. Those sports can still be added for the 2028 Los Angeles Games.

Breaking debuted at the Youth Olympics last year, where the U.S. did not have any athletes. Sergei “Bumblebee” Chernyshev of Russia and Ramu Kawai of Japan took gold medals.

Breaking had never previously been up for a vote for Olympic inclusion, but the World DanceSport Federation is recognized by the IOC.

Teenagers, some of whom went by nicknames like Bad Matty, Senorita Carlota and KennyG, went head-to-head in dance battles at the Youth Olympics in Buenos Aires last year. They performed on a mat atop an outdoor basketball court to a musical beat and emcees.

Judges determined winners using six criteria: creativity, personality, technique, variety, perfomativity and musicality.

“Breaking (also called b-boying or b-girling) is an urban dance style,” according to the Youth Olympics. “The urban dance style originated during the mid 1970s in the Bronx borough of New York City.”

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