Jamaican bobsledders want to return to the Olympics, so they’re pushing a Mini Cooper

Jamaica Bobsled
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The Jamaican bobsled team’s push for the next Winter Olympics took a detour to the roads of Great Britain.

Numerous British media outlets reported in the last week on Shanwayne Stephens and Nimroy Turgott, who have been pushing cars, including a Mini Cooper, in Peterborough.

“We had to come up with our own ways of replicating the sort of pushing we need to do [in bobsledding amid the coronavirus pandemic],” Stephens, a reported British resident since age 11, said, according to Reuters. “So that’s why we thought: why not go out and push the car?

“We do get some funny looks. We’ve had people run over, thinking the car’s broken down, trying to help us bump-start the car. When we tell them we’re the Jamaica bobsleigh team, the direction is totally different, and they’re very excited.”

The Jamaican bobsled team rose to fame with its Olympic debut at the 1988 Calgary Winter Games, inspiring the 1993 Disney film, “Cool Runnings.” At least one Jamaican men’s sled competed in every Olympics from 1988 through 2002, then again in 2014, with a best finish of 14th.

A Jamaican women’s sled debuted at the Olympics in 2018, driven by 2014 U.S. Olympian Jazmine Fenlator-Victorian. A Jamaican men’s sled just missed qualifying for PyeongChang by one spot in world rankings.

Stephens, a driver, is 51st and 56th in the current world rankings for the four-person and two-man events, respectively.

He competed in lower-level international races last season with a best finish of sixth in a four-person race that had seven sleds. One of Stephens’ push athletes was Carrie Russell, a 2018 Olympian in the two-woman event and former sprinter who won a world title in the 4x100m in 2013.

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MORE: Sam Clayton, Jamaica’s first bobsled driver, was ‘a pioneer of pioneers’

2023 French Open women’s singles draw, scores

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At the French Open, Iga Swiatek of Poland eyes a third title at Roland Garros and a fourth Grand Slam singles crown overall.

The tournament airs live on NBC Sports, Peacock and Tennis Channel through championship points in Paris.

Swiatek, the No. 1 seed from Poland, can join Serena Williams and Justine Henin as the lone women to win three or more French Opens since 2000.

Having turned 22 on Wednesday, she can become the youngest woman to win three French Opens since Monica Seles in 1992 and the youngest woman to win four Slams overall since Williams in 2002.

FRENCH OPEN: Broadcast Schedule | Men’s Draw

But Swiatek is not as dominant as in 2022, when she went 16-0 in the spring clay season during an overall 37-match win streak.

She retired from her last pre-French Open match with a right thigh injury and said it wasn’t serious. Before that, she lost the final of another clay-court tournament to Australian Open champion Aryna Sabalenka of Belarus.

Sabalenka, the No. 2 seed, and Elena Rybakina of Kazakhstan, the No. 4 seed and Wimbledon champion, are the top challengers in Paris.

No. 3 Jessica Pegula and No. 6 Coco Gauff, runner-up to Swiatek last year, are the best hopes to become the first American to win a Grand Slam singles title since Sofia Kenin at the 2020 Australian Open. The 11-major drought is the longest for U.S. women since Seles won the 1996 Australian Open.

MORE: All you need to know for 2023 French Open

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2023 French Open Women’s Singles Draw

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India wrestlers delay plan to throw medals in Ganges River as part of sexual abuse protest

India Wrestlers
Indian wrestler Vinesh Phogat (center) is detained by the police while attempting to march to India's new parliament building on Sunday./Getty
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India’s top wrestlers held off from throwing their medals into the country’s sacred Ganges River on Tuesday — as part of an ongoing protest against sexual harassment — after a community leader intervened and persuaded them against doing so.

The wrestlers, who have been demanding the resignation and arrest of the president of the wrestling federation for allegedly sexually harassing young female athletes, had said they would throw their medals into the river and then begin a hunger strike in the capital New Delhi.

The protest is being led by two women — Olympic medalist Sakshi Malik and world championships medalist Vinesh Phogat — as well as Olympic medalist Bajrang Punia, who is male. They reached the city of Haridwar in the evening, sat on the banks of the river and tearfully clutched their medals as a crowd gathered around them.

They changed their mind after Naresh Tikait, a community leader, reached the site and convinced the wrestlers to give the government five days to respond, local media reported.

“These medals are our life and soul. After we immerse them in the Ganga river, there would be no meaning for us to live. So we will go to India Gate and sit on a fast unto death,” the wrestlers had said in a statement released earlier Tuesday. The India Gate is a war memorial located in the heart of New Delhi.

The wrestlers, joined by hundreds of supporters, have been staging a protest in the center of New Delhi for a month, amid a brutal heatwave while foregoing their training schedules. The protest has drawn support from opposition parties and farmer unions as most of the Indian wrestlers come from the northern agricultural states of Haryana and Punjab.

They accuse Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh, the president of the Wrestling Federation of India, of sexually harassing seven young female wrestlers, one of whom was a minor. Singh, a 66-year-old powerful lawmaker representing the ruling Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party, has denied the accusations and called the protests “politically motivated” by the opposition Congress party.

On Sunday, as Prime Minister Narendra Modi inaugurated the new Parliament building, police detained a number of protesting wrestlers, including Punia and Malik, who were attempting to march to the building. Some of the protesters scuffled with police and were taken away in a bus.

In their statement on Tuesday, the wrestlers said they were treated in “a barbaric manner” by the police and that their protest site was dismantled.

“Did we commit a crime by demanding justice for the sexual harassment committed against the female wrestlers? We have been treated like criminals,” they said. “We women wrestlers feel there is nothing left for us in this country.”

Phogat claimed in January that several coaches have exploited female wrestlers at the behest of the WFI president.

Indian police are investigating the allegations of sexual harassment against Singh, and he has been questioned in the case. India’s Supreme Court has also acknowledged that the case involves “serious allegations of sexual harassment,” but it has been met with silence from the ruling party leaders, including Modi.

After their initial protest in January, Indian Sports Minister Anurag Singh Thakur asked the president of the federation to step aside and help in carrying out the probe. He also said a committee would be set up to investigate the allegations and that a report would be released in four weeks.

But no report has been released in the months since while Singh continues to head the federation, prompting the wrestlers to resume their protest in April.

The case has again highlighted the #MeToo movement in India, which picked up pace in 2018 when a spate of actresses and writers flooded social media with allegations of sexual harassment and assault.

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