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Wayne Olympian Persevered Through Loss for a Shot at Gold

Wayne Valley alumnus overcomes loss of home during Tropical Storm Irene in 2011.

Jazmine Fenlator. / Image courtesy of Liberty Mutual.
Jazmine Fenlator. / Image courtesy of Liberty Mutual.

The word “can’t” is not in Jazmine Fenlator’s vocabulary.

The Wayne resident has dealt with a lot of adversity in recent years on her way to becoming an Olympic hopeful.  Fenlator is the pilot of the two-women bobsled. She is trying to qualify for the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia. She and her partner Lolo Jones, the track and field Olympian, are ranked eighth in the world in the sport.

Fenlator’s home was flooded in September 2011 when Tropical Storm Irene hit North Jersey. Her mother was forced to live in a hotel for three months. The family lost $100,000 worth of personal items. Her mother suffers from Lupus, a degenerative autoimmune disease, and is on permanent disability.

 “My mom didn’t have a lot growing up. She’s spent a lot of her adulthood to make sure I had doors opened for me so that I could be culturally aware,” Fenlator said.

Fenlator excelled at track and field at Wayne Valley High School. She credits her coaches and teachers with encouraging her to work hard and push herself more and more physically.

“Gavin Bannet, Brian O’Connor, Doug Flower, and Patrick Slater, they were all very motivating,” Fenlator said. “They told me that I had a lot of skill and potential. They never told me I couldn’t do t. They reminded me the bigger picture.”

Fenlator competed in many track and field events at Wayne Valley and Rider University, her alma mater.

Fenlator and Jones are ranked eighth in the world in the two-man women’s bobsled. The team won silver medals in its first two World Cup competitions this year.

Fenlator has a bachelor’s degree in graphic design and a master’s in exercise science  from Rider University. She is enrolled in the Master of Business Administrator master’s program at DeVry University.

“You don’t have to be defined by the hard times in your life or your tragedies,” Fenlator said. “Sports has give me an opportunity to push myself beyond my maximum limitations. Records are made to be broken and sports is great way for that to happen.”

Fenlator has been named to Team Liberty Mutual along with other current and former Olympic athletes. Athletes are elected for the team for their ability to persevere through the bad times, get up, achieve success, and, in Fenlator’s case, try to win a gold medal.

“It’s an honor to have been selected to the team,” Fenlator said. “I’m glad I can reflect the valuables of Liberty. They are a company that believes in coming back from set backs and so am I.”

Editor's Note: For more information about Fenlator's story, click here.

 — Have a question or news tip? Contact editor Daniel Hubbard at Daniel.Hubbard@patch.com or find us on Facebook and Twitter. For news straight to your inbox, sign up for our daily newsletter. 

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