On this day in Jamaican history, the first Jamaican women’s bobsled team overcame numerous challenges to become the first women’s team from the island to compete in the sport at the 2018 Winter Olympics in PyeongChang. Korea, 30 years after the men’s bobsled team became a world favorite and inspired the iconic Hollywood film “Cool Runnings.” The team consisted of pilot Jazmine Fenlator-Victorian and brake woman Carrie Russell. The team’s journey to the Winter Games was not easy, as its first coach Sandra Kiriasis, who twice won an Olympic medal herself, quite the team and took the sled with her. She demanded payment for the sled, but the Jamaica Bobsled Federation refused to do so, leaving the team without a slid until Jamaica’s Red Stripe beer company came to the rescue and provided a new sled in time for their competition. The Jamaican women’s first-heat run clocked in at 51.20 seconds and put Jamaica in 18th place. While the team didn’t win a medal, it still won the hearts of Olympic fans around the world who cheered their effort to keep the Jamaican bobsledding legacy going.
Jazmine Fenlator-Victorian was born in the United States on August 29, 1985. She grew up in Wayne, New Jersey, and graduated from Wayne Valley High School. She was a member of the US Olympic Bobsled team that competed in the Sochi Winter Olympics in2014. She then decided to represent her father’s home country of Jamaica in 2016. She was on the track and field team at Rider University, where she specialized in shot put, discus, and hammer. Graduating in 2007 with a BA in multimedia communications and advertising, she took the advice of her track coach and attended a bobsled camp. Fenlator-Victorian spent three years in the role of brakeman before making the switch to pilot.
The Jamaican sprinter and bobsled brake woman Carrie Russell was born on October 18, 1990, She is from St. Thomas and attended St. Thomas Technical High School. She competed at the 2013 World Championships in the 4×100 meter relay event and won a gold medal. She won a bronze medal at the 2006 World Junior Championships. Russell competed as brake woman for Jamaica during the 2016-2017 season, and in January 2018 was a member of the qualifying Winter Olympics bobsled team.