Although Jamaica’s Michael Elliot Williams took almost twice as long as Finland’s Victor Malmstrom—who ended the race in first place—the news is that he beat Haitian athletes Jean-Pierre Roy and Benoit Etoc, as they vied for positions in the world skiing championships, making him the top Caribbean slalomist. But Roy and Etoc are not discouraged. As Brian Homewood reports, “Caribbean winter sports teams immediately conjure up thoughts of Cool Runnings, the film about the Jamaica bobsleighers who, against the odds, took part in the 1988 Winter Olympics in Calgary.” Here are excerpts with a link to the full article below:
However, Jamaica’s one competitor at the world skiing championships can only dream of exerting the dominance in his event that compatriot Bolt does on the track. Williams finished the qualifying run for Sunday’s slalom in a sedate three minutes 39.48 seconds, almost twice the time taken by leader Victor Malmstrom of Finland.
A former American footballer who had not worn a pair of skis until 18 months ago, Williams gingerly made his way down the steep and icy Reiteralm with its dizzying vertical drop of 219 metres to finish 43rd of the 45 who completed the course. Yet, he still won the contest that mattered as Haitian rivals Jean-Pierre Roy and Benoit Etoc took the last two places, enabling Williams to lay claim to the title of top Caribbean slalomist. Roy, 49, and almost certainly the only grandfather hurling himself down the icy pistes of Schladming, was 14 seconds slower. At one point, the charismatic Haitian was in danger of being overtaken by one of the many course officials skiing down after him.
[. . .] Nevertheless, both competitors were proud to get down. “I think all of us can race a lot faster than we did today but because it’s so icy and choppy, you want to make it to the end,” Williams told Reuters. “Think about it, more than 80 guys did not finish the race, that’s a lot.” [. . .] Some countries, like India and Jamaica, have ambitious operations with coaching staff and pro-active federations while others, like Peru’s German-based outfit, are little more than family affairs battling to get official recognition from local authorities.
[Haitian athlete Jean-Pierre] Roy, who was raised and lives in France, is experienced by comparison, having taken part in the world championships in Germany two years ago when he acted as federation president, team captain and lone skier all in one. [. . .] Roy, who is based in Paris, has discovered three skiers of Haitian descent who live in mountain areas, practise the sport regularly and could compete at a higher level.