Almost 30 years after Jamaica’s “Cool Runnings” men’s bobsled team participated in the Olympic Games in Calgary, Canada, in 1988, a women’s team from the island is moving ahead with its bid to win a first Winter Olympics medal. The women’s bobsled team is preparing to make history with its first-ever appearance in Pyeongchang. The team had to overcome some serious challenges in January 2017 – they had no coach and little funding – their commitment and a little luck propelled them to finding the financing they needed and an excellent coach in bobsled manager Jo Manning. The team pilot, Jazmine Fenlator-Victorian, said that the team comprises experienced, world-class, and elite athletes, and while her brakewomen may be limited in their experience in the sport, they display top physical ability and mental toughness during training. She added that the team’s “unruly work ethic” is a unique characteristic that is helping them succeed.
Fenlator-Victorian, a dual citizen of the United States and Jamaica, competed in the 2014 Winter Olympics for the US. She began as a track-and-field athlete, transferring to bobsled in 2007, starting as a brakewoman. She will be joined by track and field stars Carrie Russell and Audra Segree as brakewomen. Both Russell and Fenlator-Victorian have been to South Korea before, but the Olympics will be a first visit for Segree, who just joined the team in 2017. She noted that sharing experiences with her teammates has been an “incredible opportunity” and expects their bonds to grow stronger with time. Fenlator-Victorian hopes to represent Jamaica with pride and to display the progress the country has made in the sport, particularly on the 30th anniversary of the men’s team debut. The women have named their team “Gold Squad Fire on Ice,” according to Kathleen Pulito, its media coordinator, and will face competitions at the end of 2017 before the qualification period ends in January of 2018.