Tuesday, February 23, 2010
1st Colombian Winter Olympics
This year, for the first time, Colombia is participating in the Winter Olympics. (By the way my little beef with NBC is that for the last 3 Olympics, where Colombia participated, they always cut away on Colombia and then say, "While we were away, Colombia and, X, and X entered the stadium." Couldn't they choose different countries to chop out each time?")
Anyway, as a country where very little snow falls, winter sports are not particularly popular or available. Therefore, it will not come as a surprise to find out that the lone Colombian participant, Cinthya Denzler, wasn't actually born -- or even raised -- in Colombia. However, she does have dual citizenship.
Ms. Denzler was actually born in 1983, in Santa Ana, California, the daughter of Swiss parents. It was in the Alps that Cynthia spent her youth and it was also there that she developed a love of skiing. Then, ten years ago, her father, Hanspeter Denzler, went to Colombia to open a clothing manufacturing business in Pereira, Risaralda. It was there, after living for the required time, that the family was able to acquire their Colombian citizenship.
In 2009, Cinthya represented Colombia at the skiing World Cup. There she explained to a German newspaper that, "I have spent a lot of time in Colombia and as a result, I have deep feelings for the country."
Though Ms. Denzler has little hope of winning a medal, she had a dream of participating in the Olympics. She approached the Colombian Olympic Committee (COC), and they agreed to be her sponsor. With their backing, she participated in the qualifying events and did well enough to qualify her for Olympic participation.
For many people, the dream of a medal is not the only Olympic dream. For most athletes, it is the opportunity to walk into the stadium representing their country -- either by birth or adoption, to do their best, and feel that they are among the top copetitors in the world.
Denzler hopes to finish in the final 30 of the Slalom and Giant Slalom. Though I doubt you'll see her on NBC, where we can only watch Americans, she will be competing on Feb 24th and 26th. I'll write a post on March 1st to let you know how she did.