BEIJING – When the Alpine skiing events start at the Beijing Olympics, Haiti volition exist presenting their own version of “Absurd Runnings” – the movie that shot the Jamaican bobsleigh team to fame in the 1990s – just with fresh ambition.
Republic of haiti’s Richardson Viano finished 35th in the men’s behemothic slalom at the world championships and farther decent results are most to brand him the first Caribbean Olympic skier, a fairytale conclusion to a story that started in 2010.
Soon afterward an earthquake flattened much of Port-au-Prince and killed more than 200,000 people, Frenchman Thierry Montillet, a cousin of 2002 downhill Olympic champion Carole Montillet, decided to create the Haitian skiing federation.
“I had a friend in a ski club, (Haiti’s) Jean-Pierre Roy. When the convulsion happened in 2010 nosotros said to ourselves ‘what can we exercise likewise giving money’ and nosotros started the project of doing something in the field of positive advice for Haiti,” Montillet told Reuters afterward landing at Beijing’s Capital airport on Monday.
“Haiti stories were well-nigh the earthquake, diseases, abuse. We thought, what if nosotros created the Haitian ski federation. And we took the outset Haitian, Jean-Pierre Roy, to the world championships in Garmisch Partenkirchen in 2011.”
Roy finished last but the story had begun.
“We started from scratch and we got advice from (Senegal’s) Lamine Gueye (who took part in the 1984 Games). Fifty-fifty if cipher happened like he said it would, it helped usa a lot,” Montillet said.
What started as a public relations idea turned into a sporting projection through Viano and his team mate Mackenson Florindo.
“Jean-Pierre was an anecdote, but Richardson, who trains in the French Alps, is more that. People still retrieve Haiti, at that place’south no skiing. Everybody thinks Cool Runnings, just he finished 35th (out of 50) in the world championships, ” said Montillet.
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The comparison with the Jamaican story might have helped the Haitian skiing team at first but information technology at present does them a disservice.
“Information technology doesn’t practise us whatsoever favor anymore, especially when we expect for sponsors,” Montillet said.
“They have a difficult time understanding that we are more than that. We’re a flake prisoners of that old story.”
While the 19-year-onetime Richardson will be hoping to at least lucifer his world championships’ achievement, there is more at pale for the boy who was adopted by an Italian couple living in the French Alps when he was four.
His squad mate Florindo was also adopted.
“They have chaotic stories. They ended upwards in families with a dissimilar skin color, who are from the mountains and on top of that, in the mountains people are a bit chauvinistic,” said Montillet.
“But with the Haitian team they accept found their place. That link (with their home state) that got cleaved when they got adopted is beingness woven again.
“It’south a great source of pride for them.”