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Volume 6 No. 264

Olympics

Jamaica is sending a women's bobsleigh team to next month's Winter Olympics, "30 years after the country's men made their first historic appearance," according to Nick Hope of the BBC. The team will be led in PyeongChang by Jazmine Fenlator, who competed for the U.S. as a push-athlete at Sochi 2014. The men made their "legendary Olympic debuts" at Calgary 1988, which led to the making of the film "Cool Runnings." Fenlator said, "PyeongChang will be my second appearance at the Winter Games, but it is just as special as my first. This time I have the opportunity to represent my other home -- Jamaica -- and make history as the first female team representing the country in the Winter Olympic Games." Jamaica's men's team is currently ranked 31st in the Olympic qualification list, with 30 available places in the competition (BBC, 1/16).

AFRICAN APPEARANCE: The BBC reported Nigeria's women's bobsleigh team will "make history" in PyeongChang as the first African sled to compete at the Winter Olympics. Seun Adigun, Ngozi Onwumere and Akuoma Omeoga hit the qualifying standard in November but needed to "maintain their world ranking" until last Saturday. Simidele Adeagbo "will also fly the West African nation's flag in the women's skeleton." All three bobsledders were once track and field athletes before switching to winter sports (BBC, 1/15).

While Seoul "forges ahead with plans to use the upcoming Winter Olympics to showcase inter-Korean unity," some South Korean athletes are "furious" at proposals to form joint teams with North Koreans, "highlighting a broader lack of enthusiasm for some of the government’s peace-making plans," according to Yang & Smith of REUTERS. The backlash "may trip up Seoul’s plans" to use the sporting event to improve bilateral ties after "a year of high tensions over Pyongyang’s nuclear and missile programs." South Korea’s women’s ice hockey team "was the first to be singled out for possible integration with North Koreans." That came "as a shock to team members, who had just returned to South Korea" last Friday after training in the U.S. for the past three weeks, a senior official with the Korea Ice Hockey Association said. The official added, "They were just furious and found the idea absurd." More than 70% of South Koreans "oppose forming a joint team with the North," according to a Jan. 11 survey released by the office of the South’s National Assembly Speaker and TV network SBS. More than 80%, however, said that they "welcomed the North’s participation in general" (REUTERS, 1/16).