President of the Jamaica Bobsleigh and Skeleton Federation, Chris Stoke, insists the team will now shift all its attention into competition mode following an unsuccessful appeal to the Court of Arbitration for Sports (CAS) on behalf of the country’s two-woman team.

On Monday, a CAS panel rejected an appeal filed by woman bobsledder Jazmine Fenlator-Victorian who had called for a recalculation of the point rankings for the Beijing 2022 Quota Allocation for the two-woman event, based only on races that actually took place. 

The appeal was based on the decision made by the Olympic organisers after inclement weather had led to the cancelation of a meet scheduled for Germany on December 4.  According to the filing, the International Bobsleigh and Skeleton Federation instead counted a December 5 competition twice, which allowed a sled piloted by France’s Margot Boch to qualify for the final spot in the two-woman bobsled competition at the Olympics. The decision meant Audra Segree, Fenlator-Victorian's brakewoman, missed out on a spot via a tiebreak.  The court, however, rejected the appeal.

While insisting it was important to air their grouses, Stokes insists the team is ready to move on.

“The decision has come down as dismissed, we accept that wholeheartedly.  Winning is one thing but the more important thing is to speak up and I’m very proud of Jazmine for speaking up,” Stokes said.

“We maintain that it is better sports results be determined on the field of play and not in administration but we put that behind us and we are now in a high-performance zone and we are getting ready for competition.”

Fenlator-Victorian will compete in the Women’s Monobob, which gets underway on February 11.  Jamaica’s men’s team will compete in both the Two-Man and Four-Man events, which get underway a few days later.

Jamaica Bobsled and Skeleton Federation (JBSF) High Performance Director Mark Silver has lamented the circumstances that saw the country’s women’s two-woman team edged out of the Olympic qualifying positions.

Up to last month, the women’s team of Jazmine Fenlator-Victorian and brake woman Audra Segree were favoured to be listed among the automatic qualifiers for the Beijing 2022 Winter Games, among the world’s top 12 teams.  By the time January rolled around, however, a conflation of unfortunate circumstances had changed things entirely.  According to Silver, things began to go wrong from the perspective of the team at Latvia's Sigulda World Series where there was a Covid-19 outbreak.

“We did everything we could.  We missed out because of the weather and believe it or not Covid,” Silver explained.

How it works is there are races across the world, after Christmas, the first race was in Latvia, and unfortunately, 7 athletes couldn’t race, which meant that athletes that would have finished lower down finished higher and received points that they wouldn’t have if the race was full of athletes,” he added. 

“In another race, a massive amount of snow meant that athletes who raced later benefited from the snow being clear.  Now, with the snow it's part of the sport, we expect that.”

In the final standing, the team finished tied with France for the final spot but were edge out via the tiebreak.  The team could still qualify for the Games if France or any of the other 10 teams above them Germany, Canada, United States, China, ROC, Switzerland, Romania, Austria, Great Britain, Australia, or Belgium are unable to take part in the event.

“With Covid, the girls finished third overall on the NAC, and before Christmas, I would have said I was confident and with the press release, had it been what we had expected and predicted they were probably our safest option,” he added 

“However, things that changed but that’s sports.  For each bad thing that goes against you sometimes we get good things and fingers crossed we were bang on points, and who knows maybe this time around luck will go with us.  Hopefully not at the expense of anyone else but hopefully the girls will get to live their dreams as well because they worked so hard.”

President of the Jamaica Bobsleigh and Skeleton Federation, Chris Stokes, admits it is a special feeling to see the country’s four-man men’s team heading back to the Winter Olympics for the first time in 24 years.

Inescapably, whenever a Jamaica team qualifies for the Olympics, an inexorable link is made to the 1993 smash hit Cool Runnings, which starred the late John Candy and Doug E. Doug that went on to become a cult classic.

Unlike the movie, however, the hard yards put in to get to the Olympics, for the nation that has never seen a drop of snow, has always been real.

Stokes was a last-minute alternate when the team crashed the sled during the historic catapult down the ice in the four-man competition, in Calgary 1988, for the squad that would become immortalised in film.  He and others have pushed on ever since.  The team has subsequently appeared at another eight Olympic Games.  The men’s team, however, last appeared at the Winter sports spectacle in 2014 when a two-man team of Marvin Dixon and Winston Watts finished in 24th place and have not taken part as a four-man unit since 1998.  In the upcoming Olympics, the men’s team will make a triumphant return, but the team has also qualified for the two-man event and women’s monobob to appear in a historic three events.

“It has a special place in my heart to know that we will be in the four-man event once again at the Olympics, having been a part of that team myself (In 1988) it gives me great satisfaction,” Stokes said.

“It's not something that we take for granted it's hard work every time to qualify and it is a huge step for us to have three teams at the Games this year.”

With a bit more luck it could have been four, with the women’s two-woman team finishing just outside of the automatic qualification spots based on a tiebreaker.  The team could still appear at the Games having secured the position as the first alternate, should any of the automatic qualifiers withdraw from the event.

 “The two-woman team of Audra Segree and Jazmine Fenlator-Victorian were close.  They were in the qualifying spots for most of the way but in the last few weeks, I think some very questionable decisions were made when it comes to qualification.  I can’t say that I was surprised because these things happen, but it was unfortunate.”

The women’s team made its debut at the 2018 Winter Games with Fenlator-Victorian and Carrie Russell taking part in the event.  Despite the possibility of that team being left out this time around, qualifying three teams is not a feat to be scoffed at.

“We have an absolutely outstanding program and we don’t take it for granted.  We have a strong administration and an elite coaching staff that are wanted all over the world.”

Trinidad & Tobago’s Men’s Bobsled team is aiming to qualify for the Beijing Winter Olympics in February 2022 and end a 20-year hiatus from the Games.

The team consisting of Summer Olympic hurdler Mikel Thomas, sprinter Andre Marcano, Axel Brown, and brothers Shomari and Shakeel Brown has been competing on the North American Cup tour and will know whether or not they’ve qualified for the Olympics on January 16.

Their best seven out of eight races in recent months will count towards Olympic qualification.

Right now, the team is comfortably ahead of countries like Italy, Croatia, Israel, and Jamaica and Brown says the team’s chances look good as long as they can stay ahead while also pointing out that they are relatively inexperienced.

“We are currently comfortably ahead of them, but this is elite sport and anything could happen. I understand that a lot of people were not aware T&T had a bobsleigh team, but it only happened realistically three months before the start of the season so this has only existed in a tangible form since July,” Brown told the Trinidad and Tobago Newsday.

Brown, born to a Trinidadian mother and British father, has also represented Great Britain in the past and says he’s overwhelmed by the response of the Trinidadian public to the team.

“It feels great. I am really excited over not only what we have been able to do on the ice, but also the reception that it’s had. It’s been incredible. To be doing what I am doing still, but having such a warm welcome and such an excited kind of fan base is honestly so validating and lovely…it is exciting that now all of a sudden, the TT population is kind of embracing us and what we are able to do. That’s again, so nice,” he said.

Brown hopes that this team can inspire future generations of Trinidadian bobsledders.

“Going forward into the next four years…hopefully, there are other TT teams that are inspired by what we are doing, but I think we certainly have the athletic pool from which to choose great athletes from but also the four that we’ve got at the moment are doing incredibly well and I am really excited to see what they can do,” Brown added.

 

 

 

Jamaica’s four-man Bobsled team ended 2021 on a high after securing a medal at the North American Cup in Lake Placid, New York.

The team consisting of Shanwayne Stephens, Ashley Watson, Rolando Reid, and Matthew Wekpe got a time of 1:52.87 to finish seventh overall in the Four-Man Bobsled on December 20.

Stephens and Watson also teamed up to finish seventh overall in the Two-Man Bobsled with a time of 1:55.70 on December 15.

Watson, who is also completing his Master’s degree in Physiotherapy, reacted to the achievement on his Instagram page.

“Great way to end our last races of the year with my first ever medal in Bobsleigh. It’s been a long, hard emotional first half of the season. It has been worth the three-plus months graft to have an opportunity to reach the Olympic Games,” he said.

Watson also expressed gratitude to the support staff for the team.

“I’m very proud of the team and hugely thankful for the sponsors, coaches, physio, and people working behind the scenes,” he added.

He says the team will take some time to rest before resuming the season next year.

“Now to go home for a short period to rest before the second half of the season and hopefully the Olympics,” Watson said.

 

Jazmine Fenlator-Victorian has all but officially qualified in the two-woman bobsleigh for next year’s Winter Olympics in China based on the latest International Bobsleigh and Skeleton Federation (IBSF) rankings.

Former Munro College athlete and current Jamaican Bobsledder, Rolando Reid, wants to achieve his Olympic dream in bobsled after being unable to do so on the track.

Reid is a member of Jamaica’s four-man bobsleigh team along with teammates Shanwayne Stephens, Matthew Wekpe, Ashley Watson, Nimroy Turgott and Wayne McPherson.

Speaking on the latest episode of On Point on the SportsMax TV YouTube channel, Reid said the pursuit of his original dream to represent the country in track and field at the Olympics was dashed because of injuries.

“For me growing up, I always wanted to represent the country at the senior level in Track and Field at the Olympic Games. However, due to injuries, that wasn’t possible,” said Reid, who revealed that representing Jamaica at the Winter Olympics is his new dream.

“This is my other dream of representing the country at the senior level and making it to the Winter Olympic Games.”

Reid said he has made many sacrifices to get this far.

“I’ve literally dedicated every single thing to this; lost my job in the process and I’m a new father as well so that’s a whole different thing. Giving up time with family just to make this dream a reality so I have given it my all pretty much,” he said.

The former teacher said the team hopes to qualify for the Olympics and set the stage for the next generation of bobsledders.

“We’re setting the pace for the next generation as well. The baton was passed onto us from the older generation, the Disney generation, so we’re just trying to continue that legacy,” said Reid.

When Reid says “Disney Generation” he’s referring to Jamaica’s first four-man bobsleigh team at the 1988 Calgary Winter Olympics, who inspired the 1993 Disney film titled “Cool Runnings.”

The full interview can be seen on the SportsMax TV YouTube channel.

 

 

 

Jamaican bobsledder Audra Segree has expressed happiness with her performances so far this season with teammate Jazmine Fenlator-Victorian.

Segree, a former track and field standout at Holmwood Technical in Jamaica, partnered with Fenlator-Victorian to finish third in the 2-woman Bobsleigh at the North American Cup in Whistler, Canada on November 14th.

That podium finish followed a fourth-place finish a day earlier.

Speaking on an episode of On Point on the SportsMax TV YouTube channel, Segree was pleased with her progress.

“Our performance has been great. We have challenges here and there but we work through it and sort it out. At the end of the day, we’re grateful that we finished on the podium so the start of the journey has been great,” said Segree.

When asked what she has discovered from her early runs that will help her improve throughout the rest of the season, Segree referred to getting things in place at a faster pace.

“Based on our vibe and our energy, we’re getting things together earlier in the season so going forward we’re just cleaning up stuff, being more consistent and putting in more effort and determination to always being at the top to collect points,” she said.

With the 2022 Winter Olympics beginning in Beijing on February 4, Segree explained what the team needs to do to qualify for the games.

“I can’t say how many points we need exactly because we are split up. There is the North American Cup, Europe Cup and World Cup. I think being consistently in the top-five should set us on the right path for the Olympics,” Segree said.

The full interview can be seen on the SportsMax TV YouTube channel.

Bobsledder Carrie Russell is on the mend from a horrific injury she suffered from a freak accident in training recently. However, she says she should be fine to begin competing once the bobsled season begins in November.

A plan in the offseason to get stronger and faster and a healthy dose of self-belief are the foundation to Carrie Russell’s win in the Women’s Monobob Bobsleigh World Series event in Park City, Utah on Sunday.

Russell, 30, a 100m gold medalist at the World University Games in 2011 and 2013 World Championship 4x100m relay champion, produced a combined time of 1:49.08 to defeat American Nicole Vogt (1:49.27) and Brazil’s Marina Silva (1:49.83), who took silver and bronze, respectively.

She said a lot of hard work went into making her season debut a success.

“Well, I created a plan which involved doing some track training at the MVP track club with Coach Stephen Francis and my push coach Wayne Thomas, to ensure my speed and strength are up, and its working,” Russell told Sportsmax.TV shortly after clearing doping control Sunday night.

On her first run on Saturday, Russell attained a top speed of 120.47km/h over the 1.335m course, which saw her post a time of 54.95s. However, on Sunday, she managed to improve her speed to 121.45, which meant an improvement of 0.82s on the time she produced on Saturday.

She explained that it simply came down to using her natural talents to get a better start. On Sunday, she was only 0.03s better than the 5.79s she managed the day before but it translated into a massive difference. On Saturday she was at the first interval in 21.60s. On Sunday, she was 0.11 quicker at 21.49 and let to the massive improvement in time over the course.

“Well, its reviewing the videos and seeing the progress,” she explained.

“And then I got more comfortable trying new stuff. Audra Segree (compatriot bobsledder) and I sat and talked with Coach Wayne about the start. He explained that in order to be ahead and have room to make mistakes you have to get ahead from the beginning which means I need to start fast.

“I understood, so I told myself that I have to run deeper and I know the faster the sleigh is the easier it is to drive. So, I told myself that I am the fastest out there, stronger, and that’s what matters. It’s all in God’s hands after that.”

Russell has three two-woman races coming up from January 21-23 but she is still unsure who will be racing with her.

 

Jamaica’s Carrie Russell won the Women’s Monobob World Series Bobsleigh event in Park City Utah today.

 Russell, the 30-year-old former sprinter, finished third on Saturday after completing the 1.335km track in 54.95s. She was 0.39s behind leader Nicole Vogt of the United States.

 However, she rebounded today producing a 54.13s run for a combined time of 1:49.08 to take the gold medal and relegating Vogt to second. Vogt had a combined time of 1:49.27.

The victory today was due largely to better execution wherein Russell attained a top speed of 121.45 km/h, an improvement on the 120.47km/h achieved on Saturday. Vogt attained a top speed of 122km/h on Saturday but was much slower today at 120.78 km/h.

The bronze medal went to Marina Silva of Brazil whose combined time was 1:49.83. Silva finished second on Saturday.

Russell has been in Utah since New Year’s Day for the start of the season. She will compete in a two-woman event in the coming week before the competition moves to Lake Placid.

 

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