Sport

Caribbean athletes bid for honours as Winter Olympics begin

Saturday, February 08, 2014    

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SOCHI, Russia (CMC) — A number of athletes representing the Caribbean region are participating in the 22nd Winter Olympic Games which began yesterday in the Black Sea city of Sochi in South-Eastern Russia.

They include a five-member Bobsleigh delegation from Jamaica, a husband and wife team representing Dominica, and athletes from the US Virgin Islands (USVI), the Cayman Islands and Tortola in the British Virgin Islands (BVI).

"Our Caribbean athletes have demonstrated that they have an unconquerable spirit and it is this undeniable perseverance and grit determination that has put them at the top of their field and also for many individuals, to achieve personal excellence," said CEO of the Caribbean Association of National Olympic Committee (CANOC) Broadcasting Inc, Larry Romany.

"We know our Caribbean athletes in Sochi will make us proud and it will be another unifying period for our region to support these exceptional athletes who spent countless hours working hard to qualify for the Winter Olympics."

Jamaica's five-member delegation to the games are pilot Winston Watts, brake-man Marvin Dixon, crew members Wayne Blackwood, alternate crew; Thomas Samuel, coach, and Nelson Christian Stokes, Chef de Mission.

The Jamaican Bobsleigh team gained international fame during their debut in the 1988 Winter Olympic Games in Calgary, Alberta, as underdogs among the professional and was the inspiration for the major motion picture, Cool Runnings.

United States-based Gary di Silvestri and his Italian-born wife Angelica Morrone di Silvestri, who have Dominican citizenship are representing the island at the Games.

Di Silvestri is due to participate in the men's 15-kilometre classical race and his wife in the women's 10-kilometre classical race.

Jasmine Campbell, representing the USVI, Dow Travers, the Cayman Islands, and Peter Adam Crook, the BVI, said they were all looking forward to the Winter Olympics.

"I will be going to the Olympics trying to ski my personal fastest, my personal strongest, my personal best. That is all I can really hope to do," said Campbell.

"The Olympics are also about bringing the world together in a community of sport and human excellence."

Born and raised in the Grand Cayman, Travers, 26, competed for the island in the 2009 Val D'Isere Alpine World Championships and the 2010 Vancouver Winter Olympics.

The eldest of three talented athletic brothers, Travers, who lives and works full time in the Cayman after graduating from Brown University with a degree in Geology-Biology, said he's fully prepared for the Winter Games.

"I believe I am prepared and as ready as I'll ever be," said Travers, who has been training in Aspen with his brother Dean under coach, former Olympic skier, Jake Zamansky and the Aspen Valley Ski Club.

Travers, who will be competing in the Giant Slalom, said he has been training during the week and racing as much as possible followed by strength training in the gym.

Crook, who lives in Utah, said he is "excited and a little nervous" about his first Winter Olympics and representing the small mountainous island of Tortola.

"When people hear I'm representing Tortola, they always ask me if I ski there! Is there snow there! And then I have to explain it all over again," said Crook, who started competing professionally four years ago.

"It's a small island and the support for me from the people there is unreal. My biggest goal at the Olympics is to make it through the final round. You never know what can happen. I'd just like to make everyone proud."

The Winter Olympics games run from February 7 to 23.

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