5 Lessons Learned from Jamaica’s 2018 Winter Olympic Women’s Bobsled Team

As a Jamaican woman, I’m proud to say 30 years after the men, we have a women’s Olympic bobsled team!

Photo from the Jamaica BobSleigh Facebook

Photo from the Jamaica BobSleigh Facebook

Jamaicans are known for their  Reggae music, swag, and as a dominating force in both men's and women's track and field. On the 30th year anniversary of the historic Jamaican men’s bobsled team at the Calgary Olympics, Jamaican women are proving that Jamaican athletics is not limited to the track and field, but can venture into the snow and on ice.

Jazmine Fenlator-Victorian (a 2014 U.S. Olympian) with brakewoman Carrie Russell (Jamaica’s 4x100m relay 2013 World gold team) drove the first Jamaican women’s sled in World Cup competition. They debuted in seventh place in December, which put them into Olympic qualifying position. And, the trio who qualified with ease may very well be one of the favorites.

Prior to these women, only eleven Jamaicans had competed at the Winter Olympics — all men and bobsledders. And now a tropical island with no ice, debuts their first women’s bobsled team at the 2018 Winter Olympics in PYEONGCHANG, South Korea.

Check out the Jamaican women bobsled team's opening ceremony swag and lit dance moves, which took over twitter.

Here are five lessons you can learn from the Jamaican women’s Olympic bobsled team.

--- Life Is All About Facing Challenges

The first women’s bobsleigh team, will be competing in a sled named “Mr. Cool Bolt” named after the original “Cool Runnings” and Usain Bolt. However, the Jamaican women’s bobsled team is driving a rental in the 2018 Winter Olympics. The team discovered that its Japanese-built sled was not up to international competition specs. So, in the middle of the season, the team was forced to rent a Latvian-made sled from a German bobsled club, in order to compete in the Olympics.

 

--- Set A Big Hairy Audacious Goal (BHAG), That People Will Laugh At

Just like in 1988, when the men debuted Jamaica’s first bobsled team, the women know that this too, has people laughing. The simple idea of a Jamaican [an island with no ice] bobsled team, universally sounds comedic. However, when it first happened 30 years ago at the Calgary Olympics, the entire world became fans. The improbable became probable. And now, Jamaica has sent their first women’s bobsled team to the 2018 Winter Olympics. Not so laughable anymore, is it?

 

--- Tell Your Brand Story

The Jamaica Bobsleigh and Skeleton Federation didn’t have the funds to send the team to the Winter Olympics. In fact, what they did have, was a story. Everyone loves the idea of a Jamaican bobsled team, just ask the original Jamaican Winter Olympics men’s 1988 team, whom Disney in 1993 made a movie the Cool Runnings about. Jamaica has a very powerful brand around the world, and so understanding that storytelling is the ultimate currency, they traded on it.

 

--- Control The Narrative

If you listen to Russell, Jazmine Fenlator-Victorian and Audra Segree, this is bigger than surprising people.  For these ladies, this is about unlocking possibilities and changing the narrative. It’s about a team of women athletes who decided to give the not so popular bobsled a shot. The impossible dream of doing something that has never been done, to create access through diversity, refusing to choose between femininity and success. There is no one path to success, if you want to be a Winter Olympian, start putting the work in and go for gold!

 

--- Dream It, Dare It, Do It

Being the first women’s bobsled team from a Caribbean Island to not only qualify for the Winter Olympics, but get out of qualification. Is not only preposterous, it’s also extremely daring and ballsy! Bobsledding doesn’t pay well, and moreover these ladies had no guarantee they would have any success. However, these Jamaican dreamers knew their capabilities, were willing to take the risks, and today they are Olympians.

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Also, a big congratulations to Anthony Watson, Jamaica's first ever skeleton slider to make Winter Olympics!