Cool runnings all over again
Carrie Russell teams up with Fenlator-Victorian for historic bobsled bronze medal
Jamaica once again created history as its women’s bobsled team of Carrie Russell and Jazmine Fenlator-Victorian won bronze in the North American Cup in Lake Placid in the USA on Monday.
The Jamaican pair was third in 1:57.87 minutes behind the winners Nicole Vogt and Bonnie Kilis of the USA with 1:57.70 and Canadians Julie Johnson and Janine McCue with 1:57.81.
It was the first podium finish for the sunshine island of Jamaica in the winter sport event held on ice.
Jamaican bobsledders have held a special, almost sentimental place in Olympic history since their novel entry at the 1988 Games in Calgary, Canada, which prompted the popular Hollywood flick Cool Runnings.
Only last year July, the Jamaica Bobsleigh and Skeleton Federation (JBSF) launched its new women’s programme. Shortly after, Jazmine Fenlator-Victorian switched allegiance from the USA to Jamaica.
The 30-year-old Fenlator-Victorian, who has a Jamaican father, had represented the USA at the Sochi Winter Olympic in 2014. She teamed up with Lolo Jones, the former world indoor 60m hurdles champion, and was tipped for a medal, but they finished 11th overall.
Now Fenlator-Victorian, who wanted to recruit Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce after the Rio Olympics teamed up with another track sprinter in Carrie Russell to great success.
When Fenlator-Victorian decided to switch to Jamaica, she was quoted on TeamUSA.org as saying that she wanted to leave her mark by building something special that inspires people.
“By coming from a large nation that has a lot of fortune, funding and success, I thought that I could use my skills, my talent to build my other nation, Jamaica, into a large platform for athletes from track and field and other sports to funnel and broaden their horizon of winter sports,” she said.
“It’s a bigger part of my success and my career, but I could really lift a nation that I have a huge tie of heritage to,” she noted.
Russell, 26, only just made the switch from track and field to bobsled. She was a part of Jamaica’s 2013 World Championship gold medal-winning 4x100m relay team in Moscow.
She also copped gold at the 2011 World Student Games in Shenzhen, China. Her personal best for the 100m is an impressive 10.96 seconds and 7.34m for 60m, which made her an ideal person for the bobsled team.
She posted on Facebook her joy in creating history for Jamaica. “Thank you God for the many opportunities and blessings you have given me this season. Knowing nothing about bobsled when I first started, I left my life of track and field to pursue a dream.
“After months of ups and downs, hours of travel and training, tonight (Monday) me and Jazmine Fenlator have made history winning Jamaica’s first-ever medal in bobsled with a bronze finish,” said Russell.
“Thank you to all my coaches who helped shape the athlete I am. Thank you my family and friends who have kept me grounded in this new transition. I couldn’t have done it without any of you and I look forward to making more history as a world athlete,” she added.
Just last year, the Jamaica Bobsleigh Federation received three high-quality sleds from Shitamachi Bobsleigh project out of Japan as they prepare for the 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Olympics Games in South Korea.