Black athletes are challenging what a Winter Olympian looks like

More than 40 black athletes are competing at the Winter Olympics. That’s a big deal.

Bobsledder Jazmine Fenlator-Victorian suddenly found herself fighting back tears during a press conference on Saturday.

The New Jersey native representing her father’s home country Jamaica at the Olympic games in Pyeongchang, South Korea, was asked about the representation of black athletes at the games. “It’s important to me,” she answered, “that little girls and little boys see someone that looks like them, talks like them, has the same culture as them, has crazy, curly hair and wears it natural, has brown skin, included in different things in this world. When you grow up and you don’t see that, you feel that you can’t do it. And that is not right.”

Fenlator-Victorian’s words touched on a noticeable difference during this year’s Olympic games: She’s one of more than 40 black athletes competing in South Korea according to a tracker from BuzzFeed, representing Great Britain, Brazil, and others while also giving countries like Nigeria and Eritrea their Winter Olympics debut.

With the arrival of women’s bobsled teams from Jamaica and Nigeria, both the first women’s teams in the event to qualify for their respective countries, as well as rising stars like the US’s Maame Biney, the first black woman on the US speedskating team, and Jordan Greenway, the first black member of the US hockey team, black athletes at the 2018 games are making history before they even compete for medals.

As a matter of numbers alone, it might not seem like much. Out of nearly 3,000 athletes, black athletes make up just 1.45 percent of those vying for medals, according to BuzzFeed. Nonwhite athletes (10 black Olympians and 11 Asian-American Olympians) account for just under 9 percent of the American team, according to team …read more

Source:: Vox – All

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