THE much-heralded Jamaican women’s bobsleigh team have made their Winter Olympic debut on a night of colour and emotion and coming 30 years after the country’s first appearance at the Games in Calgary.
At a near sold-out sliding centre pilot Jazmine Fenlator-Victorian and brakewoman Carrie Russell made two impressive starts but their steering let them down as they finished in 18th out of 20 following the first two runs.
“It’s just a good feeling to represent our country at this level,” Russell said.
“The road hasn’t ended, there’s far more room for us to improve”.
The duo had faced unwanted distractions ahead of the competition when their German coach Sandra Kiriasis quit suddenly last week.
For a while, it looked like they would not even have a sled until Red Stripe beer offered to buy the one they had been using and put them back in contention.
Fenlator-Victorian said she had been listening to Jamaican reggae artist Chronixx in training to “keep the vibes light and heady” ahead of the race which revived memories of their men’s bobsleigh team in Calgary in 1988, the unlikely inspiration for the 1993 film Cool Runnings.
“It really means a lot and though we are not happy with our performance we will analyse it and see where we can improve it tomorrow but I know there is a bigger picture out there,” she said.
“I am hoping to build upon it in the future. We’re the first women’s team from the islands, that’s why barriers are there: to be broken.”