Bobsledder Jazmine Fenlator-Victorian competed for the U.S. at the 2014 Winter Olympics, but now represents Jamaica.
The following exchange has been lightly edited for brevity and clarity.
How often do you get asked about “Cool Runnings”? What did “Cool Runnings” get right, and what did it get wrong?
All the time, even before I transitioned to team Jamaica.
The movie got right the lessons about resiliency, being bullied because you are different and people telling you that you can’t do something.
The part that it got wrong is that we don’t turn our heads with the bobsled around the corners.
But in general they did a great job.
When did you laugh the hardest with 2014 U.S. Olympic bobsled teammate Lolo Jones?
We were stuck on a flight together to Atlanta when a power outage happened. That entire process was pretty hilarious for us. She was in business class because her ticket got upgraded, and she was messaging me that they weren’t getting any water or food, and asked if I had anything. In my carry-on, I had a Milka [chocolate bar] that I was supposed to put in a stocking stuffer for my family, but I thought this was a pretty big deal because we hadn’t eaten. I went up to share it with her, and the stewardess asked me if I was sitting up there. I said, ‘No, I’m just trying to share some chocolate with my teammate. We’re both athletes and we have low blood sugar because we haven’t eaten in a while.’ She said, ‘I’m sorry, but I’m going to have to ask you to go back to your seat.’ And me and Lolo started laughing so hard and cracking jokes.
She’s one of my best friends in the sport, and I really respect her. We train together and she really, really helped my team. She’s been at the starting line cheering for us super loud, and she’s a great person. I’m so thankful to still be friends with her even though we’re rocking two different flags now.
What is the funniest question you’ve been asked about bobsled?
The funniest question is, ‘So after you jump in the bobsled, what do you do? How do you go down…is it just luck?’ People don’t know that you’re actually steering. And then they think you’re steering with a steering wheel, like a car.
People also think we have a pit crew like NASCAR to prepare our sleds for us. But we actually have to do it ourselves.
Your father, Cosman, is Jamaican. When you were growing up in New Jersey, what stories did he tell you about his home country?
He grew up right by the beach, so he talked about how the beach was his cleanse. Even when he goes back now, that’s all he cares about. He wakes up, walks down to the beach, takes his swim, walks back, showers and starts his day. That’s the same thing he does at night.
He always talks about the sunshine and salt water and how it soothes your soul.
What is your favorite Jamaican food?
To be honest, it’s very hard to say, because every time I’m there, I gain weight because I eat everything.
Right now I say ackee and saltfish. It’s normally a weekend brunch dish. I love it with some fried dumplings.
Growing up, my mother used to let me pick out what I wanted to eat for my birthday, and it was always oxtail.
My favorite dessert is potato pudding.