Mariama Jamanka, Olympic bobsled champion, retires

Mariama Jamanka
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German bobsled driver Mariama Jamanka, who won gold and silver at the last two Winter Olympics, announced her retirement on Wednesday.

Jamanka, 31, is leaving competitive sport to take up studies in Berlin, according to German press agency DPA.

She wrote on Instagram that in sliding she experienced highs she never expected and lows that most couldn’t imagine.

In 2018, Jamanka and push athlete Lisa Buckwitz won Olympic gold by seven hundredths of a second, combining times from four runs, over Americans Elana Meyers Taylor and Lauren Gibbs.

It marked the first women’s bobsled medal for Germany, the traditional world power in the sport, since 2006 and the start of a new era following the retirements of Cathleen Martini and Sandra Kiriasis earlier in that Olympic cycle.

Jamanka had never before won a World Cup race, but it was just the start of her success. She won the world championships and the World Cup season title the next year.

This year, she and Alexandra Burghardt took two-woman silver at the Olympics behind countrywomen Laura Nolte and Deborah Levi.

Born to a Gambian father and German mother, Jamanka was a hammer and discus thrower when a coach suggested she try bobsled in 2013. She initially studied YouTube videos to learn the nuances of each track.

NBC Olympic research contributed to this report.

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