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Jamaica’s Olympic flagbearer goes to court to be reinstated in bobsled event

“I will not stand silent while my nation and my team are treated unfairly.”

BEIJING (FEB. 4, 2022) - Jamaica’s flagbearer, Jazmine Fenlator-Victorian has filed an appeal with the Court of Arbitration for Sport to protect her right to compete in the Olympic two-woman bobsled event.

The case concerns an arbitrary and improper decision of the International Bobsleigh Federation (IBSF) that has the effect of excluding Jamaican athletes in favour of European bobsleigh programs.

Ms Fenlator-Victorian is a decorated Olympian and lead the Jamaican team as flag-bearer in the Opening Ceremonies.

“I am appealing to protect my rights and the rights of my Country to participate fully in the Olympic Games. This will be my last Olympics and I believe strongly in the power of participation,” she said. “Representation matters so much; we need to raise silenced voices as well as make space for diversity. I hope seeing a brown and Black female athlete fighting for fairness inspires others and I hope that my story ignites more open conversations that lead to change.”

Ms Fenlator-Victorian added: “I will not stand silent while my nation and my team are treated unfairly.”

The appeal alleges that the IBSF failed to follow its own rules when it calculated athlete point rankings that were used to allocate quota (or participation) spots for the Olympic Games.

In particular, the IBSF arbitrarily and retroactively created and counted results for a fictitious race on December 4, 2021 in Winterberg. No such race actually occurred and no athlete actually participated in two-women bobsled on December 4, 2021. The results displayed by the IBSF for that race (as found here) are in fact a copy of the race that was held the next day on December 5, 2021 (as found here). As a result, athletes who participated in the December 5, 2021 race earned points for the December 5, 2021 and the same points for the December 4, 2021 race that never actually occurred.

If this retroactive double counting is excluded, Ms Fenlator-Victorian ranks ahead of her French competitor and Jamaica would be awarded and entitled to the last quota spot for the two-women bobsled. That would allow Ms Fenlator-Victorian and her teammate and brake person Audra Segree to represent Jamaica in the two-women bobsled adding to the already incredible participation of the Jamaican team.

"The IBSF double counting is especially hard to accept when my team does not have the resources to compete on the Europe Cup. The cost of travelling to Europe with our equipment is prohibitive and we are already financially excluded from the World Cup where point earnings are higher, whereas our European based competitors can easily move between competing on the World Cup and Europe Cup races. For the IBSF to now retroactively ‘double count’ one of those European races in which we had no real opportunity to participate is too much. It is simply unfair and unacceptable.”

Ms Fenlator-Victorian also hopes that the IOC and IBSF will act in the spirit of Olympism and gender-equality and increase the spots available for two-women bobsled so that the French athletes who were erroneously awarded a spot ahead of Jamaica are not negatively impacted:

“I also hope this case can be resolved without excluding my French competitors from the Games. There should be room for more female participation. There are 60 spots available for male competitors in the two-person bobsled and only 40 spots available for female competitors in the equivalent two-person event. That means that instead of being equal there are 50% more male competitors participating in this event. Expanding qualification spots and providing a more level playing field positively impacts the future of female participation and longevity in the sport,” she said.

Jamaica Bobsleigh and Skeleton Federation (JBSF) President and member of Jamaica’s original 1988 bobsleigh team, Chris Stokes, added, “I have seen so much progress in gender equity and diversity in bobsleigh and skeleton since my first Olympics. We made it because someone stood up for us, and now the JBSF will stand beside Jazmine so her voice may be heard.”

Ms Fenlator-Victorian’s appeal is also supported by other nations that champion equality and participation in sport, including Bobsleigh Canada Skeleton (BCS).


FOR MORE INFORMATION CONTACT:

Bill Walker – MidtownPR   bill@midtownpr.com   +1 416 624 3936


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