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Jamie Greubel Poser, Olympic medalist, retires from bobsled

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Jamie Greubel Poser, a 2014 Olympic bronze medalist, has retired from bobsled after two Winter Games and more than a decade in the sport.

“After taking some time to reflect, I’m incredibly proud and satisfied with everything I have accomplished in my career,” said Greubel Poser, who ended her career with a fifth-place finish in PyeongChang and is now teaching English at a school in Germany, where her Olympian husband is from. “Now, it feels like the right moment to begin the next chapter of my life.”

Greubel Poser, 34, converted to bobsled in 2007 after competing in the heptathlon and pentathlon at Cornell. She still holds school record scores and was inducted into its athletics Hall of Fame in 2016.

She began in bobsled as most do, as a brakewoman, and went to the 2010 Vancouver Olympics as an alternate.

“When I watched the Olympics Opening Ceremony and the Olympic bobsled competition, it really dawned on me for the first time that I really had a possibility of going to the Olympics,” she said. “I had been competing in the sport for two years, and I was doing it because I loved the competition, but in this moment I was really inspired, and it lit a fire for me to do whatever I could to make the Olympic team in four years.”

After switching to driving and overcoming a summer 2011 torn ACL playing soccer, she jumped to the top in the 2013-14 Olympic season.

Greubel Poser notched her first World Cup win as a driver, placed third in the World Cup standings and took bronze at the Sochi Games with brakewoman Aja Evans, also a former college track and field athlete (shot put).

“I think if you told me this, that I would get a medal here, now, I don’t think I would have believed you,” Greubel said that day in Russia.

Greubel Poser and gold and silver medalists Kaillie Humphries and Elana Meyers Taylor would regularly share podiums through the next Olympic cycle. Greubel Poser won the 2016-17 World Cup title by a mere 14 points by taking the last race at the PyeongChang Olympic track.

Her second Olympics didn’t go as hoped. Greubel Poser and Evans paired again and finished fifth, 13 hundredths shy of a medal.

“It’s a test of skill and it’s very challenging to do the same thing four times, and I did the best I could do,” Greubel Poser said after the last two runs of her career in South Korea. “I made a few mistakes, but I gave absolutely everything I had today, and I couldn’t have driven better.”

PyeongChang carried other significance for Greubel Poser.

“It would really be the trip of a lifetime for my family,” she said before the Games.

Greubel Poser competed at the Olympics in the same sport as her husband, German push athlete Christian Poser. They married in summer 2014 after meeting at a 2012 World Cup race and competing as an engaged couple in Sochi.

Her younger sister by 17 years, Elizabeth, was adopted from South Korea when Greubel Poser was in high school. Elizabeth flew to South Korea for the Games — her first time in her birth country since she was an infant — and watched her sister race in person for the first time.

“When I was first introduced to bobsled, I was drawn to the opportunity to be part of a team again and because I loved to compete,” Greubel Poser said. “I had no idea where it would eventually take me. It took me to the top of the world, and I certainly never imagined it would lead me to meeting my husband.”

NBC Olympic Research contributed to this report.

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MORE: Russian bobsledder who tested positive in PyeongChang cleared

Justin Morneau nixes Olympic baseball qualifying return

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Justin Morneau, the 2006 AL MVP with the Minnesota Twins, was taken off Canada’s Olympic baseball qualifying roster before he would have played his first competitive game in more than two years.

Morneau, 38, experienced an unspecified setback in training and was replaced on Canada’s roster for next month’s Premier12. The global tournament marks the first opportunity for many world baseball powers to qualify for the sport’s return to the Olympics.

Morneau never played in the Olympics before baseball was cut from the Games after 2008; active MLB players have never competed in the Games. But he was on Canada’s roster at all four World Baseball Classics from 2006 through 2017.

At November’s Premier12, the top nation from North and South America will qualify for the Tokyo Olympics. Japan and Israel are already qualified. Those that do not qualify will get another chance next year.

Morneau could become the second Major League Baseball MVP to play Olympic baseball as a medal sport. The other was Jason Giambi, who made the U.S. team in 1992, the same summer he was drafted in the second round by the Oakland Athletics.

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MORE: Joe Girardi replaced as U.S. baseball manager by World Series champion

Kolohe Andino is first U.S. Olympic surfing qualifier; Kelly Slater faces last chance

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Kolohe Andino is the first American to qualify for surfing’s Olympic debut, which leaves one spot left for 47-year-old Kelly Slater to chase at the final contest of the season.

Andino, a 25-year-old Californian whose first name means “rascal” in Hawaiian, clinched his place in Tokyo on Friday at the penultimate stop on the World Surf League Championship Tour in Portugal. He is ranked fifth in the world, trailing a trio of Brazilians.

One more American man will join Andino on the Olympic team. It will be one of Slater, the 11-time world champion, John John Florence, the 2016 and 2017 World champion, and rising 22-year-old Hawaiian Seth Moniz.

Slater was handed a golden opportunity to qualify when Florence announced in early July that he tore an ACL for the second time in 13 months. Florence had won two of the first five events this season.

Slater has been chasing the sidelined Florence in the standings ever since. But it has not been easy.

Slater hasn’t made the quarterfinals in any of his last seven contests going into December’s finale — the prestigious Billabong Pipeline Masters on the North Shore of Oahu.

“Ninth place, to me, used to be a pretty awful result. I’m used to at least a quarterfinal on for most of my career,” he said in July, noting a back injury. “I’m not horrified by my results, but I’m also not surprised. Maybe other people are because everyone focuses on my age and that kind of thing. It’s not like I’m going to all of a sudden forget how to do this thing, you know?”

Slater, who won the Pipe Masters seven times between 1992 and 2013, must reach the quarterfinals at this year’s event to have any chance of passing Florence to qualify for the Olympics.

Complicating matters: Florence said in August it was his “goal to get better for Pipeline in case I have to come back and compete and gain points,” according to ESPN.com. If Florence does return for the December contest, and makes the quarterfinals, Slater could only pass him with a victory.

Moniz goes into the finale ranked one spot behind Slater, meaning he, too, can grab that second and final Olympic spot with a win or a runner-up.

Slater, who turns 48 on Feb. 11, would be the oldest U.S. Summer Olympic rookie competitor in a sport other than equestrian, sailing or shooting (or art competitions!) in the last 100 years, supplanting Martina Navratilova, according to the OlyMADMen.

MORE: Top U.S. surfer has links to Egg McMuffin, Guinness World Record holder

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