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Bobsleigh: Jamaica's women proud to carry on 'Cool Runnings' legacy

PYEONGCHANG, South Korea (Reuters) - Thirty years on from the Jamaican men’s bobsleigh team’s Olympic breakthrough that inspired the cult movie “Cool Runnings”, a women’s team from the Caribbean nation will blaze a similar trail at the Winter Games in Pyeongchang.

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Driver Jazmine Fenlator-Victorian, who competed for the United States at Sochi, and Carrie Russell booked their qualification only weeks ago on a sled named “Cool Bolt”, a nod to both the film and great Jamaican sprinter Usain.

“A lot of people know of bobsleigh because of the movie ‘Cool Runnings’ and Jamaica making that launch in 1988 and really pushing bobsleigh with their popularity,” Fenlator-Victorian, born to a Jamaican father, told reporters on Friday.

“But we’re also humbled and honored to be compared to those men that started and fought so hard to represent Jamaica.

“I mean, in less than six months they competed in the Olympics and although it didn’t have a great result it was more about taking those steps and pathway and paving a way and that helped a lot of us be here today.”

As Jamaica’s first Winter Olympians, the men’s sledders were considered the ultimate underdogs at the 1988 Calgary Games and their appearance drew huge media attention.

Fenlator-Victorian and Russell are determined to bring more than novelty value, however, and have made huge strides in recent months, finishing seventh at a World Cup event in Winterberg, Germany, in December.

“It’s important for us as a women’s team to show people that women can do dangerous, speedy, strong, fast sports as well as,” Fenlator-Victorian said.

“It’s important for us to show that Jamaica can do it.

“It doesn’t matter that we’re a small island and that it’s 30 degrees Celsius in here. The other day in training it was minus 30.”

Writing by Ian Ransom,; Editing by Ed Osmond