Nightly News   |  February 18, 2014

Bobsledder’s Olympic-Sized Ability to Adapt

Jazmine Fenlator had always dreamed of competing in the Olympics. Now she’s managed to achieve her goal, despite the many obstacles that stood in her family’s way.

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This content comes from Closed Captioning that was broadcast along with this program.

>>> finally from here tonight, the story of an american bobsledder who like others here found a second life in that sport. her name is jasmine fenlater. and with her partner lolo jones , she's competing in women's bobsled tonight. her biggest supporter is watching the coverage very carefully, our report tonight from nbc's anne thompson .

>> reporter: hurdling down a mountain track at 85 miles an hour, riding a bobsled is a gas, between aggression and finesse.

>> you need to adapt and change and get back on the line.

>> reporter: jasmine's 28 years is a story about a patient. as a child she dreamed of dancing her way to the olympics.

>> at 6 years old, saying i'm going to write to a congressman to tell him he needs to put darns in the olympics. my mom's like, whatever you want , whatever you think you can do, i'll support you.

>> reporter: her mom's support would be there all her life.

>> are you adopted? no, that's my mom. why don't you look like her? she's white, my dad's black and i'm brown. i don't understand why you don't understand.

>> reporter: the dancing child became a teenaged track star. her skills set wouldn't get her to the summer games . her college coach recommended jasmine to the u.s. bobsled team.

>> had you been on the bobsled before?

>> never. i never saw one up close, all i knew was "cool runnings."

>> this daughter of a jamaican man got a tryout for the squad but didn't have the $50 a day for room and board.

>> here's a credit card , don't be a woulda, coulda, shoulda.

>> quadruple bypass, two heart attacks and six strokes in the last three years.

>> reporter: and their new jersey home flooded in hurricane irene .

>> the water came right up here.

>> reporter: susan tried not to burden jasmine.

>> she just broke down and said, i've been living in my car for two days, our house is gone, i don't know what to tell you.

>> she's starting to learn i can't lie as well as i used to.

>> what's the purpose of lying?

>> to protect her and keep her on her goal.

>> reporter: the house is repaired but for sale, unable to work, suesen cannot afford it.

>> i think over time i've learned that material things come and go, but my mom will always be my home, wherever she is.

>> reporter: and jasmine's goal remains in tact, the medal stand in sochi, and that perfect dance of finesse and aggression, adapting every step of the way. anne thompson , nbc news, wayne, new jersey.