Passionate tears rolled down Jamaican bobsledder Jazmine Fenlator-Victorian's face as she realized that her presence at the Winter Olympics will inspire children that look like her to achieve anything they set their minds to.
During a press conference in Pyeongchang, South Korea on Saturday, the 33-year-old Olympian spoke about the importance of diversity in sports, like bobsledding, so that black and brown children can know that it is possible to win and compete against anyone.
It is important for “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,” Fenlator-Victorian said while fighting back tears. “When you grow up and you don’t see that, you feel that you can’t do it. And that is not right.”
“It’s important to me that little girls and boys see someone that looks like them, talks like them, has the same culture as them, has crazy curly hair and wears it natural, has brown skin-included in different things in this world” Jazmine Fenlator-Victorian #PyeongChang2018 pic.twitter.com/9vfJ0FK1wL
— Jamaica Bobsled Team (@Jambobsled) February 10, 2018
The New Jersey native finished 11th for the United States with Lolo Jones at the Sochi Olympics in 2014. But this year, she switched her team affiliation to Jamaica in honor of her father, Cosman, in an effort to boost representation and inspire others to compete. In 1988, Jamaica sent the men’s bobsled team of the Disney film Cool Runnings fame to the Winter Olympics. This marks the first time the Caribbean nation will field a women’s bobsled team.
Fenlator-Victorian said that she does this for Jamaica.
“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.”
This post was originally published on Blavity.