Traditionally the winter Olympics are dominated by countries that have lots of snow. Recently there has been a trend developing for countries with warm weather climates to send representatives to the winter Olympics. Perhaps the most famous is the Jamaican bobsled team that inspired the movie ‘Cool Runnings’. The Jamaicans are back this year competing in the bobsled and have company from other countries that see Haley’s comet more often than they see snow.
Venezuela is represented by Antonio Jose Pardo Andretta, a 43 year old laid-off banker who competes in the Giant Slalom. He is not a threat to medal since he only officially began competing in ski races during the last year. He will be most widely remembered by his jubilant entrance to the opening ceremonies where he danced his way through the Olympic Stadium.
Thailand has two ski racers competing in Sochi 2014. Don’t expect them to be a threat to medal since the last report of snow occurred in 1955 in the province of Chiang Mai. Chiang Mai is more well known for elephant trekking and bamboo rafting than snow. They do receive the odd hail storm but not enough to ski on.
Malta, an island in the middle of the Mediterranean Sea, boasts and annual average temperate of around 23 degrees Celsius. They have reported approximately 6 snowfalls in the last 200 years. An interesting note since most Canadian cities experience that in the course of a few days. Malta’s only Olympic competitor was born in France and competes in Alpine Skiing.
Zimbabwe will also be represented at the Olympics for Alpine Skiing. Their only competitor and flag bearer was born in Zimbabwe and moved to the skiing powerhouse of Switzerland when he was 2 years old. He will be the first athlete ever from Zimbabwe to compete in the Winter Olympics.
It is refreshing to see that athletes in warm weather climates are overcoming barriers and competing on the world stage. Each new winter Olympics brings competitors from new countries around that globe aiming to compete in sports that are traditionally dominated by Canada, Russia, United States, Norway, Austria, Germany, and a variety of other countries with snow on their mountains. Perhaps the fact that this year is the first Winter Olympics to be hosted in a warm climate city (Sochi) will spur interest from warm weather countries to compete in future Olympic Games.