Emotional Jamaican bobsledder on the importance of diversity in the Winter Olympics

It means so much more this time around.

Jamaican bobsledder Jazmine Fenlator-Victorian knows how important it is that children are able to watch the Winter Olympics and see images of people who look like them.

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Jamaican bobsledder Jazmine Fenlator-Victorian knows how important it is that children are able to watch the Winter Olympics and see images of people who look like them.

During a press conference in Pyeonchang, South Korea, Fenlator-Victorian spoke through tears about the importance of  “little girls and little boys see someone that looks like them, talks like them, has the same culture as them, has crazy, curly hair and wears a natural, has brown skin, included in different things in this world.”

With issues of diversity, including people of color and women, being at the forefront of everyone’s minds these days, it’s not hard to understand why this moment became so poignant for Fenlator-Vivtorian.

“When you grow up and you don’t see that, you feel that you can’t do it. And that is not right,” she said. 

From Team USA to Team Jamaica

Although Fenlator-Victorian was born in New Jersey and competed for Team USA in Sochi, she switched to the Jamaican team to honor her father (who is Jamaican by birth) and for the chance to make a statement about representation.

She is fully aware of the impact that she can make on people who see the Jamaican team at the Winter Olympics, too.

“So, coming back home to Jamaica, I wanted my Jamaican people to see that they could do it,” Fenlator-Victorian said. “And there’s not just one path that way or one path this way to get out of poverty, to make money or to make a name for themselves. If they want to be a Winter Olympian and do alpine skiing, now they see their fellow Jamaicans in the Winter Olympics.”

Team Jamaica is no stranger to inspiring stories. In 1988, they were the first Caribbean nation to send a men’s bobsled team to the Olympics. And now, they’re doing it again with the first Caribbean women’s bobsled team.

The Olympics are meant to be a symbol of inspiration, and for Fenlator-Victorian, that’s what it’s all about.

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