Shaunae Miller-Uibo will not be defending her 400m title at the 2023 World Championships in Budapest in August. She will also not be running the 200m because she is going to be a mommy!

It is common knowledge that the Jamaica Olympic Association (JOA) is fulfilling one its primary mandates of expanding and deepening Jamaica’s vault in competitive sport while enriching what some describe as “smaller sports” a term which does not exist in the developmental  vocabulary of Jamaica’s  apex body in sport. 

Jerone Ennis, the 2022 American Light Heavyweight Boxing Confederation/Caribbean gold medalist and Commonwealth Youth Welterweight Bronze medalist is on board: “I am a proud representative of the Jamaica Boxing Board of Control and my goal is to represent Jamaica at the 2024 Paris Olympic Games and thanks to the JOA which made it possible for me to represent Jamaica at the international level and for developing the ‘smaller’ sporting syndicates.”

Olympian Ricardo Brown, the 2019 Pan American bronze medalist in the men’s super heavyweight (91+kg) class who in 2021 turned professional, puts it in the context of transitioning to the big stage which all athletes envision. “Attending the Tokyo Olympic Games is a memory and an experience  for a lifetime and the JOA was supportive in starting me in the right direction which has expanded more opportunities  for me in my professional career.”

While Brown articulates the dream of athletes,  JOA Secretary General and Chief Executive Officer, Ryan Foster, gives the perspective of his colleague Directors. “For the JOA family two is not better than too many; and while success in sport development is understandably  qualitative, there is a numerical component that materially defines progress and validates the principle “sport for all, all for sport” which is our theme for the 2024 Paris Olympic Games.” 

Foster’s comment strikes a chord with Weightlifting Federation President,  Dr. Mark Broomfield whose sport has been creating history. “There is a parallel between educational professions and sporting disciplines. For years many thought that to have a meaningful career one had to be either a Lawyer or a Doctor, no other profession was respected or encouraged until reality proved otherwise. The same is true for sport in the Jamaican landscape. Many only saw football, cricket,  track and field and netball, the female sport, as the only sport worth developing and promoting but “out of many one people” is a platform that promotes diversity and the belief that Jamaicans can represent their country in other sporting disciplines outside of the chosen three or four. Pioneers are known for their ability to pave new path ways and it’s time for new pioneers in sports.” 

Fencing Federation President, James McBean, is also on the same page regarding the JOA’s “no sport being left behind” policy as he says “this really speaks to the effort that the JOA is making in terms of encouraging, honing and in many ways revolutionizing the sporting landscape of Jamaica and what’s also quite poignant is the way in which JOA seems to be going about this is very much in line with the spirit of the IOC in that all these new so called ‘smaller sports’ or new ‘family members’ to the sporting family are treated equally, given a voice, and being encouraged. Nurturing the so-called ‘smaller sports’ is so important because this is a wise investment in Jamaica’s sport and a brilliant use of resources and time.” 

Many Olympic sports are now coming into their own and international  representation across the board continues to be a driving force of the JOA. “Any governing body in sport or otherwise knows that the playing field must be level at all times for governance of members’ aspirations cannot be for some  a valley and others a mountain-top experience. Enshrined in the Olympic Charter is the equal right of all to self-actualisation and to transition to the Olympic stage”  JOA President, Christopher Samuda,  said. 

Olympian and the 2022 Commonwealth Games sliver medalist in the Women 70kg weight category, Ebony  knows the immense potential of her sport. "I want to get to another Olympics and, with that, help Jamaica to improve the awareness of judo as a sport and get more persons to participate. Judo has given so much to my life and I want other people to experience the same - especially the youth. Ultimately, the Jamaica Judo Association is really helping to build the interest in the country as we have a great potential for international success at every age group." 

2023 will witness two major games – the El Salvador Central American and Caribbean (CAC) Games and the Santiago Pan American Games -  the predecessors of which in 2019 were historic for the JOA in terms of the most sports represented, the most medal haul and the largest contingent. “Our goal is clearly to surpass those milestones and our commitment to those sports who they call minor, is not only major but is mature” Samuda emphasised. 

At the heart of sport  development and success in sport and central to KPIs of any growth strategy is an understanding that is akin to the thought process that goes into any viable investment and revenue strategy: “Diversify, pluralise, economise and then  monetise and don’t allow your eggs to be placed in one basket. The same applies to sport” Foster said. 

In the last decade there has been, noticeably, an emergence of new Olympic sports with well-defined technical cohorts, fan bases and financial backers who are taking some icing and slices from the sporting cake which must necessarily and creatively  be enlarged and enriched to accommodate new tastes and a widening diet of diverse ambitions.

 

Brittney Griner intends to play in the WNBA next season, having returned to the United States following her release from a Russian prison.

Griner was arrested at Moscow's Sheremetyevo International Airport on February 17 for bringing under a gram of cannabis oil into Russia in vape cartridges.

The two-time Olympic gold medallist said she made an "honest mistake", while her lawyers argued she was using cannabis for medicinal purposes and was unaware cannabis oil was outlawed in Russia.

Griner was subsequently jailed for nine years for drug possession and drug smuggling with criminal intent, but she was released in a prisoner exchange that saw convicted arms dealer Viktor Bout return to Russia last week.

In a statement posted to her Instagram account on Friday, the eight-time WNBA All-Star confirmed she plans to play for the Phoenix Mercury in 2023.

"It feels so good to be home! The last 10 months have been a battle at every turn," Griner said.

"I dug deep to keep my faith and it was the love from so many of you that helped keep me going. From the bottom of my heart, thank you to everyone for your help.

"I also want to make one thing very clear: I intend to play basketball for the WNBA's Phoenix Mercury this season.

"In doing so, I look forward to being able to say 'thank you' to those of you who advocated, wrote, and posted for me in person soon."

In her social media post, Griner also thanked those who had advocated for her release, including "the Phoenix Mercury, the players of the WNBA and my entire WNBA family", as well as US president Joe Biden.

When announcing Griner's return, Biden said the 32-year-old had been "unjustly detained" and described the conditions she endured as "intolerable".

The Phoenix Mercury suffered a first-round exit in the WNBA Playoffs in August and are set to begin their 2023 campaign against the Los Angeles Sparks on May 19.

Brittney Griner has been released from Russian prison and the two-time basketball Olympic gold medallist will be back in America in the next 24 hours, US president Joe Biden said.

At the White House, President Biden confirmed he had spoken to 32-year-old Griner, who was arrested at Moscow's Sheremetyevo International Airport on February 17 for bringing under a gram of cannabis oil into Russia in vape cartridges.

That was shortly before Russia invaded Ukraine, weakening diplomatic relations with the US, and eight-time WNBA All-Star Griner was jailed for nine years in August for drug possession and drug smuggling with criminal intent.

Griner said she made an "honest mistake", and her lawyers argued she was using cannabis for medicinal purposes to treat chronic pain sustained over the course of her career.

They said she was not aware cannabis oil was outlawed in Russia.

Reports in the United States said Griner had been freed in a prisoner exchange that has seen arms dealer Viktor Bout released into Russian hands.

President Biden said Griner had been "unjustly detained in Russia", describing circumstances she endured as "intolerable".

"Brittney will soon be back in the arms of her loved ones, and she should have been there all along," Biden said. "This is a day we've worked towards for a long time."

Biden said there had been "painstaking and intense negotiations". He said recent months had been "hell for Brittney" and stressed efforts were ongoing to free former US Marine Paul Whelan, who is in a Russian jail after being convicted in 2020 on espionage charges.

Biden said Phoenix Mercury player Griner was "in good spirits" and "relieved to be heading home" after enduring "needless trauma".

She was "wrongfully detained" in the first place, Biden said, and he added: "She endured mistreatment and a show trial in Russia with characteristic grit and incredible dignity.

"She wrote to me back in July, she didn't ask for special treatment, even though we'd been working on her release since day one."

Griner's wife Cherelle appeared alongside Biden and said: "Over the last nine months y'all have been so privy to one of the darkest moments of my life."

She said news of Griner's release left her "overwhelmed with emotions", and she offered "sincere gratitude" to Biden and his administration.

"Today it's just a happy day for me and my family," she added.

After a career spanning two decades and characterized by fast times and world records but blighted by injury and unfulfilled potential, Jamaican sprinter Asafa Powell has called time on his career.

One of the fastest men to have ever lived, Powell, who celebrated his 40th birthday on November 23, was a trailblazer in an era that produced some of the fastest men in the history of track and field namely Usain Bolt, an eight-time Olympic gold medallist, Nesta Carter, Michael Frater, Yohan Blake and Steve Mullings, among others.

Powell set 100m world records of 9.77 in Athens, Greece in 2005 and 9.74 in Rieti, Italy in 2007. His record was broken by Bolt in New York in 2008 when he ran 9.72 at the Adidas Grand Prix.  Powell lowered his personal best to 9.72 in September 2008, but by then Bolt had taken the record down to 9.69 at the Beijing Olympics.

After breaking 10 seconds for the first time in 2004, Powell went on to run under 10 seconds for the 100m, a record 97 times. It is an achievement that has earned him the moniker ‘Sub-10 King.”

However, despite his amazing talent, Powell never won individual global titles in the blue-riband event. Favoured to win the 100m at the 2004 Olympics in Athens, Powell finished fifth. Four years later, he was fifth at the 2008 Beijing Games.

Powell won the Commonwealth Games 100m title in Australia in 2006 and was favoured to win the 100m at the 2007 World Championships in Osaka, Japan. However, the six-time Jamaican champion was third behind American Tyson Gay, the gold medallist and Bahamian Derrick Atkins, admitting afterwards that he ‘panicked’.

In 2009, Powell ran his best time in a global final – 9.84 at the 2009 World Championships in Berlin, Germany - good enough for bronze behind Usain Bolt, who lowered his own world record to 9.58 with Gay winning silver in a then American record of 9.71.

He was seventh in the 100m final at the London 2012 Games.

Powell won gold medals as a member of Jamaica’s 4x100m relay team at the 2016 Rio Olympics and at the World Championships in 2009 in Berlin and 2015 in Helsinki.

He last ran under 10 seconds in 2016 when he ran 9.92 in Hungary. Injury played a significant role in his inability to continue to break 10 seconds with his fastest time in the last six years being 10.02 in Leverkusen, Germany in 2019.

A favourite of female fans across the globe, Powell announced that his career had come to an end at a lavish birthday party late last week that was attended by several prominent figures from Corporate Jamaica, his shoe sponsor Puma as well as former teammates Bolt, Blake, Frater, Carter and Elaine Thompson-Herah.

His agent Paul Doyle, family, and his closest friends were also in attendance.

On Saturday, he shared the news on Instagram.

“18 years!!! Thanks to my sponsors and loyal fans who have supported me over the years. This sport has given me so many opportunities…but I started my track career in 2002 and have had many ups and downs but was never ungrateful for what I have accomplished,” he said.

“I am entering a new phase and a new chapter of my life and a lot more to come from me. I will continue to inspire the younger generation in every way possible.”

Powell married Canadian model Alyshia Miller in a lavish ceremony before family and friends in Montego Bay 2019 and together have two sons.

 

 

 

Seasoned sports administrator Keith Joseph of the St Vincent and the Grenadines is the new president of the Caribbean Association of National Olympic Committees (CANOC). Joseph won comfortably over his Jamaican challenger Christopher Samuda by a count of 17-9, successfully replacing former president Brian Lewis.

Joseph earned the majority of votes on the second and final day of the XX CANOC General Assembly, attended by 26 of the 30 member National Olympic Committees (NOC's) and Commonwealth Games Federations (CFG's) in Trinidad and Tobago from November 4-5.

Joseph campaigned on a record of achievement of the last CANOC executive, in which he served as the secretary general. The highlight of the last term was the successful staging of the 2022 Caribbean Games in Guadeloupe, which returned to the sports calendar after a 13-year hiatus.

Meanwhile, Lewis himself got the nod from the membership to serve as the secretary general by a vote of 14-12 over Antigua and Barbuda’s Cliff Williams. The Virgin Islands’ John Abramson conceded the post of first vice president to the Cayman Islands’ Carson Ebanks by a vote of 16-10 while Ytannia Wiggins of Barbados (18) and Guadeloupe’s Alain Soreze (19) retained positions as executive member.

Edith Cox was returned unopposed as treasurer.

The Joesph-led administration will appoint a second vice-president as the post was not filled via nominations.

Jamaica’s Christopher Samuda and St Vincent and the Grenadines’ Keith Joseph are the two candidates for the presidency of the Caribbean Association of National Olympic Committees (CANOC) when the organization meets for its 20th General Assembly November 4-5 at the Hyatt Hotel in Port of Spain, Trinidad and Tobago.

The elections will serve to select the members of the CANOC Executive Committee for the quadrennial period, 2022-2026 following Day 1 of the ninth CANOC workshop.

Samuda, who is president of the Jamaica Olympic Association (JOA) or Joseph, the General Secretary of the St Vincent and the Grenadines Olympic Committee, will replace the incumbent Brian Lewis of Trinidad and Tobago who will be going up against Antigua and Barbuda’s Cliff Williams for the position of CANOC Secretary General.

Meantime, vying for the post of vice-president are John Abramson of the US Virgin Islands and Carson Ebanks of the Cayman Islands.

Edith Cox of the Turks and Caicos is the only candidate for the post of treasurer while Ytannia Wiggins of Barbados, Alain Soreze of Guadeloupe, Bruce Farara of Montserrat and Alan Sharpe of Belize are in the running for executive members.

The nominations commission chaired by Sandra Osborne, SCM, KC, will supervise and manage the voting process to deliver secure results for all Executive Committee elections as well as decisions on selection of the host for the second edition of the Caribbean Games.

The Executive Report on CANOC’s stewardship over the past four years, the report on the Inaugural Caribbean Game and bid presentations for host of the 2025 Caribbean Games, will be the main features on Day 2.

As part of the International Olympic Committee's (IOC) commitment to the United Nations Sport for Climate Action (S4CA) Framework and the support to the Olympic Movement to protect our planet, CANOC will be attempting to minimize the use of paper at the workshop and general assembly, offering instead, as many documents as possible in digital format.

In a career spanning more than a decade during which she has five 100m world titles, two Olympic 100m titles, and is one of the fastest women to have ever lived, Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce is just now accepting that she is among the greatest, if not the greatest of all time.

Since she became the first Jamaican woman to win an Olympic 100m title when she crossed the line first at the Beijing Olympics in 2008, Fraser-Pryce has established a number of firsts that have augmented her incredible legacy of dominance on women’s sprinting. She would eventually win back-to-back 100m gold medals and at the Tokyo Olympics became the first woman in history to win 100m medals in four consecutive Olympic Games when she finished second to compatriot Elaine Thompson-Herah.

She was also the first to simultaneously hold Olympic and World 100m titles; she has done it twice (2008/2009 and 2012/2013) and she also became the first female sprinter to win the 100m, 200m and 4x100m relay at a World Championships (Moscow 2013).

And this past summer, she became the first running athlete – male of female – to win five world titles in a single event, the oldest woman ever to win a world 100m title and capped it off running a record seven times below 10.7 in the 100m including the world-leading 10.62 in Monaco in August.

However, with all that under her belt she never believed herself to be in the conversation on who is Greatest of All Time.

“As an athlete, especially as a young athlete growing up I never had that belief in myself,” she said. “The mindset has been the greatest asset that I have had throughout my years and I always think I am very good at what I do because that is why I continue to show up knowing that I know that I can do it.”

However, her accomplishments during this past season has opened her up to the reality of the true strength of her legacy.

“To be able to accomplish the things that I did is only because of the grace of God because I have worked really, really hard and I think this time around I was more contented than ever knowing that I belong, having fun and a sense of being at peace and to be even considered one of the greatest is truly remarkable,” she said speaking to Sportsmax.TV at the conclusion of her Pocket Rocket Foundation’s ninth annual scholarship awards at the Jamaica Pegasus.

“So I am glad to even be able to me mentioned in the conversation. For me, I am just happy to be mentioned.”

Fraser-Pryce, who turns 36 in December will be going after a sixth World 100m title in Budapest in 2023 and what would be a record third Olympic 100m gold medal at the Paris Olympics in 2024.

 

Getting a bronze medal 10 years after competing at the 2012 London Olympics would be a dream come true for Jamaican 400m hurdler Kaliese Spencer.

The technical staff of Jamaica’s Senior Women’s football team have signed one-year contracts with the Jamaica Football Federation.

Jamaican Olympian Simone Facey is now a certified coach of athletics.

Jamaican Olympian Kerron Stewart has been appointed Head Coach – Sprints, Hurdles and Middle Distance at SPIRE Academy in the United States. SPIRE Academy is an international, high school and postgraduate sports performance training and education academy in Geneva, Ohio.

The 38-year-old Stewart takes the position as head coach, a year after signing with Buena Vista as an assistant coach for their Track & Field/Cross Country programs.

“I am elated to join this dynamic and evolving team that’s invested in developing and inspiring young men and women. I can’t wait to start this new position and contribute my wealth of experience and knowledge to growing and developing our student-athletes,” said Stewart, who won a silver in the 100m behind Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce at the 2008 Beijing Olympics.

 “With any new position, I know there will be challenges, but I am ready and committed.”

Stewart, who won a silver medal as a member of Jamaica’s 4x100m team at the London 2012 Games, will be working with Coach Tim Mack as well as SPIRE’s Director of Track & Field Kibwe Johnson.

"I am thrilled to have Kerron join our coaching staff at SPIRE,” Mack said of Stewart’s appointment. “She brings a ton of experience, knowledge and enthusiasm to our track & field program.”

Meanwhile, Johnson said Stewart completes the ‘Dream Team’  coaching staff at SPIRE.

"I'm incredibly humbled to be able to add a coach with the vast wealth of knowledge and experience that Kerron will bring to the student-athletes of the SPIRE Track & Field program,” Johnson said.

“It's one thing to be a coach with vast personal experience. It's quite another to also align with the principles of leadership and teaching that I expect from this coaching staff. We're happy to have her.”

Jamaica’s Olympic gymnast Danusia Francis has announced her retirement from international competition while expressing gratitude for the love and support she received while representing the country.

Francis, 28, represented Jamaica at the Tokyo Olympics. She was due to compete in the women's individual all-around event but two days prior to the competition, she discovered she had torn her anterior cruciate ligament.

 She subsequently withdrew from the balance beam, the vault and the floor exercise but chose to continue to compete in the uneven bars with her knee bandaged, scoring the lowest of any competitor as the judges deducted 6.5 points for various infractions and gave her only a 0.5 difficulty score. However, her 9.033 execution score was the highest for any athlete on uneven bars.

Less than a year later, she decided that it was time to call it a day from the sport she loves.

“I am announcing my official retirement from gymnastics. I am so grateful and thankful for all the opportunities, I’ve had in this sport, to be a Jamaican Olympian is an absolute dream come true. I want to give a massive thank you to Jamaica Gymnastics and the JOA (Jamaica Olympic Association) for believing in me, funding me and for the opportunity to represent on the biggest stage,” she said in a statement Sunday.

“I will treasure the memories forever.”

Notwithstanding her retirement, Francis, who also represented UCLA in NCAA gymnastics, said she plans to remain involved with the sport in her adopted country.

“I would love to always be a part of the sport in Jamaica, help it improve and grow,” she said. “Anytime I am in Jamaica, I am definitely coming to the gym, do some coaching and I will always be on the other side of the phone for advice, for whatever it might be and however I can help.

“So, thanks again to everybody and thanks again to the amazing Jamaican fans. You have supported me and shown me so much love and embraced me and for that, I thank you all from the bottom of my heart.”

Francis said she plans to continue in the sport as a host and presenter.

President of the JGA Nicole Grant said Francis has done much for Jamaican gymnastics in a very short time.

It is truly an honour to have had Danusia Francis as part of the Jamaica gymnastics team. She has helped to grow the sport in so many ways. Competing for Jamaica at so many important gymnastics meets, putting us out there and showing the world that Jamaica does have the ability to be great in the sport," Grant said.

"Being the first female gymnast to qualify Jamaica for the Olympic test event in 2016 opened doors for us and she played her part in enabling our berth to the 2016 Olympics. She showed so much determination to keep going for Jamaica, especially after her disappointment with not being chosen for the Olympic test event in 2016 and the 2018 Commonwealth Games, her drive demonstrated her full commitment to Jamaica as she had choices. Her love for Jamaica shone brightly and that love was returned 100 times more.

"Her retirement from competitions, for us only means that she will have more time to help develop the sport locally through coaching and consultation. We wish her good luck and God's richest blessings on her future journey."

 

 

 

France's sports minister Amelie Oudea-Castera believes Kylian Mbappe will be the poster boy for the Paris Olympic Games.

Mbappe last week decided to stay at Paris Saint-Germain, despite having widely been expected to join Real Madrid on a free transfer.

The 23-year-old has signed a three-year deal with PSG, keeping him at the Parc des Princes until 2025.

It is a move that Oudea-Castera believes benefits the whole of France, as she suggested Mbappe, already a World Cup winner, will now be the star for the country to get behind in the 2024 Olympics.

"To be on the field, in our magnificent sites, to represent his country at the Olympic Games in 2024, he has always dreamed of it and he will make so many of us dream of it," she told RMC Sport, as quoted by Le Parisien. 

"It's a big 'YES' in capital letters. PSG will be fully behind the Olympic and Paralympic Games. I am certain that all this will happen."

Oudea-Castera thinks Mbappe is worth the huge salary the Ligue 1 champions are paying him.

"The amounts are very high, but that rewards an immense talent, constant work. He is a huge worker, sport also has its big stars as has entrepreneurship," she added.

"It's not dirty or ugly, especially since he gives a lot. Kylian makes his values clear, he is very committed."

Oudea-Castera also had a word for Mbappe's France team-mate Karim Benzema, who she backed to win the Ballon d'Or after an extraordinary season with Madrid that might culminate in a Champions League triumph, with Los Blancos facing Liverpool in Paris on Saturday.

"He has a good chance [of winning the Ballon d'Or]," she said. 

"We are all behind him, it would be a very nice reward."

Jamaican Olympian Christania Williams is making a comeback from some tough times with the hopes of getting back to her best in the near future.

The 27-year-old former Edwin Allen High School star last showed up last weekend, May 7, 2022, at the JAAA/SDF Jubilee Series meet at the National Stadium in Kingston where she produced times of 11.62 to finish third in her preliminary round heat and then ran a season-best 11.55 in the final for a sixth-place finish behind winner Shericka Jackson (11.00).

She revealed afterwards that after enduring a rough period, she is hoping to improve with each race she runs this season.

“I have been through a lot. I am happy to be here. The main focus right now is just me against me and improving in each race,” said Williams afterwards while also revealing that she is no longer a member of the Tumbleweed training group in Jacksonville, but was training elsewhere in Florida.

She declined to reveal where or with whom.

“I am not training on my own but for now I am not sharing that information,” she said.

The talented sprinter won silver medals for Jamaica in the 100m and 4x100m relay at the 2018 Commonwealth Games on Australia’s Gold Coast and also won a silver medal at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games as a member of Jamaica’s 4x100m relay squad.

She ran a lifetime best of 10.96 in the 100m semi-finals in Brazil and finished eighth in the final won by Elaine Thompson-Herah. Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce was third.

At the time she was a member of the MVP Track Club in Kingston but she eventually left for the Rana-Reider led Tumbleweed Training Group in Jacksonville, Florida in early 2020, just before the world shut down in the face of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Like most of the world’s athletes, Williams did not compete in 2020. In 2021, she ventured into a few indoor meets and had a season-best 7.14 in Fayetteville in February. Another four races followed outdoors, the last of them occurring on May 31 when she ran 11.38 at the Duvall County Challenge in Jacksonville.

April 23, 2022, almost a year later was the next time she raced; at the Tru Fit Athletic Sprint Series in Miami, Florida where she ran 11.54 for a fourth-place finish in her heat and then 11.79 for seventh in the final.

 

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