Olympics bound

Jamaica's women's bobsleigh team set for historic appearance at 2018 Winter Olympics

Tuesday, January 16, 2018

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The Jamaica Bobsleigh and Skeleton Federation (JBSF) officially announced yesterday that it will be sending a women's team to the PyeongChang 2018 Winter Olympic Games in South Korea next month.

The Jamaicans accumulated enough points competing on the international circuit to give them the opportunity to enter a one-sled contingent, along with Switzerland and Great Britain.

It is set to mark Jamaica women's bobsleigh team's first appearance at the Olympics, though the announcement comes three decades after the small tropical island made its debut Winter Olympic Games appearance.

Though not medalling, Jamaica men's bobsleigh team boggled minds with an impressive show at the 1988 Winter Olympic Games in Canada. Their performances inspired the 1993 film Cool Runnings.

“This is one of the happiest moments of my life, I never dreamed that I would become a bobsleigh athlete. Today also marks three years since I lost my father, which makes this journey even more meaningful,” said brakeman Carrie Russell, a first-timer at the Winter Games.

“I have to thank the man above that has blessed me with the opportunity to represent my country at this level. I look forward to representing my country,” added Russell, the MVP Track Club athlete who won gold in the 4x100 metres relay at the 2013 World Championships in Russia.

Audra Segree, an admired track athlete with a personal best of 11.30 seconds over 100 metres, has also been selected as a brakeman.

She said: “[It is] a leap of faith and a dream come true. Later I will be representing my country as one of the first women bobsleigh athletes in the Olympics. I am overwhelmed with joy knowing that I have helped make history for my country. I am really grateful for this experience.”

Jazmine Fenlator-Victorian is to pilot for the Jamaica team. Fenlator-Victorian previously piloted for USA in the 2014 Winter Games before returning to her roots and joining JBSF in 2015.

“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,” Fenlator-Victorian said.

After undergoing structural reorganisation leading into the Olympic season, the achievement is regarded as testament to the strength of the country's programme and the excellence of its athletes, and Jamaica is expected to be a top competitor at the 2018 Winter Olympics.

The men's team is currently ranked 31st on the Olympic qualification list — one spot out of qualification. If any teams forego their selection, Jamaica would be next in line to make its seventh appearance in the men's two-man event on the 30th anniversary since their debut in Calgary.

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