Rider alumna is heading to the XXIII Winter Olympic Games
Former Rider University track and field standout Jazmine Fenlator-Victorian '07 has a busy February ahead of her. She'll be travelling to Pyeongchang, South Korea, to compete in the XXIII Olympic Winter Games. Fenlator-Victorian, a dual citizen in Jamaica and the United States, will compete for the Jamaican bobsled team in the 2018 Winter Olympics.
Fenlator-Victorian was elected to the Rider Athletics Hall of Fame on her first year of eligibility. A two-time Rider Female Athlete of the Year, Fenlator also took part in the 2014 Olympics in Sochi as a member of the United States bobsled team. She started her journey towards the Olympics with bobsledding after graduating in 2007.
She was Rider's first-ever Olympian and the University's first NCAA Track & Field Regional automatic qualifier. During her collegiate career with the Broncs, Fenlator earned All-East honors eight times, in the shot put, weight throw and the discus, setting Rider records in all three events along with the hammer. Fenlator was also named one of the top-25 athletes in the first 25-year history of the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference.
This will mark 30 years since Jamaica sent its first men's bobsled team to the Olympics in Calgary as the women's team will look to make history next month. The country will now be sending their first-ever women's team.
Jazmine took time out of her hectic training and travel schedule to answer a few questions about her time in Lawrenceville and her life after graduation.
RIDER: How did your experience as a student-athlete at Rider prepare you for your move into international bobsledding?
JF: Rider was home for me. Although it is a Division I University, it is small and a close-knit community. That being said, for both my athletic career and educational goals I always felt I had the attention I needed to truly push myself and capture the necessary skill set personally and career-wise that I needed to be successful and obtain my goals. The staff has a plethora of experience across all subjects and jobs. Rider is unique, with the ability to have professors and adjuncts that really know "real-life" situations from the past, present and what will come. If the administration, whether athletically with my coaches or academically with my teachers, were unsure of something they always challenged themselves to further get educated on the subjects or find ways to redirect the students and student-athletes to the right people who could help. With this type of student-athlete experience, I was able to learn how to time manage, adapt to multiple rapidly changing environments and communicate more efficiently. Rider provided me with the appropriate tools to continue growing beyond college in any adventure I sought out. Being a student-athlete at Rider allowed me to take risks, fail, succeed, truly grow and figure many things out about myself in order to maximize my potential post-graduation.
RIDER: What was your experience like at the 2014 Olympic Games in Sochi?
JF: It truly is hard to put into words the Olympic Experience. It really is such a high of emotions, intense emotions all at once. Walking into the opening ceremonies is when it really hit me, wow I am an Olympian, I am about to compete in the Olympics, a life goal, years of sacrifice and hard work, numerous let downs, personal tragedies, injuries and more and it all is really about to happen. No matter what, I will forever be an Olympian. It is an amazing title to have, but truly the journey itself is priceless and continues to shape the person I've become every day. The Sochi Olympics will forever be in my heart and filled with amazing memories. I am looking forward to Pyeongchang and showing the growth and work I have put in over the last four years to be at the top of my game.
RIDER: What motivated you to start the Jamaican Bobsled program?
JF: I am a dual citizen, my father being an immigrant from Jamaica to the USA and my mother being born in the USA, but coming from European immigrants. It was always instilled in me to embrace all of my cultures and heritage (loudly and proudly). I am a unique individual in many ways with my biracial mix. It has always been a goal of mine to give back to both sides of my world, never choosing one over the other, but creating a legacy that encompasses diversity, education, inclusion and an opportunity for future generations to explore and dream big!
After competing in the Sochi 2014 Winter Olympics for Team USA, I knew I had more to give. With the support of my husband, family, mentors and of course the Jamaica Bobsleigh and Skeleton Federation we all knew that this was something special and could change the world in a positive way. There is a lot of labeling and characterization that happens throughout the world in society personally, professionally, and in between. My parents always told me to go for it and to not let anything stop me especially because I was a girl, because I am black, because we grew up in a lower income neighborhood, because I am mixed, or any other stereotype one can be called. My motivation is to show through action, not just words, to live the life they worked so hard to provide, that you can make the impossible possible for yourself regardless of any stereotype, label, definition, characterization, location, financial background, etc. because you yourself create your own legacy and there are no barriers restricting that!
RIDER: What does it mean to you and your family to represent your father's native country in 2018?
JF: There are some stats about being a Winter Olympian, like .00002% chance. It's amazing I am a part of that percentage, and I can't really describe what it means to say I have done it twice with the ability to represent both my homes. Being able to honor my heritage, culture and pay it forward to my communities and youth by breaking down barriers and providing the knowledge and hope of opportunities they may have never thought was possible, let alone imagined, is the passion that drives me. At the end of the day, the medals, the glory, the titles, it truly is materialistic compared to the true mission and passion I have behind it all.
RIDER: What advice would you have for a current Rider student-athlete both in their current intercollegiate careers and after graduation?
JF: Transitioning is hard, whether you're a high school student-athlete in your first year in university, or you're completing four years as a student-athlete and transitioning to post graduation. Take it as a process. Coach Robert Pasquariello and Coach Hamer both worked with me on a tremendous level to remind me always of the process. Those pep talks, encouragement, belief and simplifying the pressures I put on myself really has helped me post-graduation. Any goal you set for yourself, keep driving towards it with resilience. There is no timeframe to be the best version or yourself. All goals in life are a process, and the path of that process can take multiple bends and turns along the way so embrace the journey. Remember failure is not negative and always ensure you're doing what you enjoy and enjoy what you're doing. Without passion and drive, it's just another task with no purpose behind it.