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Same Bobsled Game, Different Country Name For Jazmine Fenlator

On Saturday, driver Jazmine Fenlator-Victorian and brakeman Carrie Russell (a 2013 World 4x100m champion in track and field) finished seventh in a World Cup in Winterberg, Germany. The result helped Jamaica jumped from two spots out of the Olympic field to provisionally in the Olympic field by a small margin over a Romanian sled. PyeongChang in South Korea,  will host the XXIII Olympic Winter Games from February 9-25. 

Team Jamaica on Twitter

BOOM! Jamaica women’s Bobsled team of Driver Jazmine Fenlator-Victorian and brakewoman Carrie Russell (2013 World 4x100M champion) finished 7th out or 23 teams at their World Cup debut in Winterberg, Germany. @Jambobsled @JazmineFenlator https://t.co/tDlfoCRCY6

In 2014, I sat face to face with a living legend but didnt know it at the time. In a small Manhattan office, during a press tour, I kicked it with with Fenlator. At the time, she was preparing to make history as an African-American member of the United States Women’s Bobsled squad in the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics in Russia. 

We spoke about her journey, beginning with her early decision to become an Olympic athlete. 

“As a dance enthusiast growing up in Wayne, N.J., Fenlator didnt participate in organized sports until high school, but she always knew she was going to do it big in a field that required supreme physical athleticism. She just didnt know what path of ground-breaking success she would walk. She had no idea shed be an African-American woman excelling in a sport that has no cultural, geographic or historical connection to the African-American community.”

TSL was one of the first publications to feature Fenlator in an “Our Game 2” piece. We did an extensive interview with Fenlator back then and you can read all about her life leading up those 2014 Olympic games where Fenlator finished in 11th place, competing alongside converted two-time Olympic track and field athlete Lolo Jones.

Fenlator-Victorian, now 32, announced her plan to switch representation to Jamaica (where her father is from) in 2015. She has once again found herself in the middle of a potential watershed moment in African-American history. 

Qualifying races run to mid-January, but Saturdays result is expected to be an Olympic-clinching performance. Fenlator-Victorian and Russell competed in a sled Saturday thats named Mr. Cool Bolt after Cool Runnings and Usain Bolt, according to International Bobsled and Skeleton Federation announcers.

Team Jamaica on Twitter

Jamaica women’s #Bobsled team’s first run at their World Cup debut in Winterberg, Germany. They finished 7th out or 23 teams. Well done ladies! Read more https://t.co/fthvN9sqZL @JazmineFenlator @Jambobsled ( via @IBSFsliding) #Bobsleigh https://t.co/l92SnPsyNt

They became the first Jamaican women to compete on the World Cup in 16 years. They are trying to become the first to gain Olympic fame on the 30th anniversary of Jamaicas iconic Bobsledding debut back in 88. According to olympics.nbcsports.com, eleven Jamaicans have competed at the Winter Olympics all men, and all bobsledders save ski cross racer Errol Kerr in 2010, according to Olympic historians.

In her first Olympics venture with the USA Team, Fenlator was a novice, still trying to figure out the intricacies of the sport. She was  a raw, inexperienced, natural at the craft.Two weeks after sitting in a bobsled for the first time in 2007, Fenlator was competing in a National Team trials competition on the ice at Lake Placid, pushing with different drivers and learning how to use the equipment. 

She survived the damaging effects of Hurricane Irene, which  flooded and ravished her familys New Jersey home in 2011, shortly after Fenlator officially began her Olympic quest. She even considered quitting bobsled and returning to her corporate job in New Jeru to be close to her family, but her mother wouldnt let her. 

Wise decision, as Fenlator’s run with Jamaica will be one of the biggest international stories in these Winter Olympics and the Jersey girl, who grew up on a shoestring budget,  brings more black girl magic to an event that will also feature the three Nigerian women, who finished fifth in their qualifying race and will represent Nigeria as the first-ever African bobsled team to qualify for the Olympics, and the countrys first-ever representatives at the Winter Olympics.

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