Despite the negative exposure received by Dominica in the international media during and after the just concluded Winter Olympics Games in Sochi, Russia, president of the Dominica Olympics, Felix Wilson, has vowed the island will continue to participate in winter games.
“Dominica may not have snow on Morne Diablotin, however, it is the only country in all who participated in the Summer Olympics games that does not have a synthetic track for its athletes,” he said at a press conference on Saturday.
He made an appeal to everyone to inform friends and family with Dominican linkages to join with the Dominica Ski Association, which he said is affiliated to the DOC and International Ski Federation, “to get the country to Winter Olympics and international comeptitions.”
He said Dominica’s representatives at the Sochi games, Gary and Angelica di Silvestri, whom he described a ‘benevolent Dominicans,’ has indicated that they are willing, “to sponsor through scholarships some of our young athletes to reach great heights in the Olympic Games.”
Meanwhile, Wilson is brushing aside allegations made in the international media that the di Silvestris were “phony athletes” who essentially scammed their way to the games.
According to Wilson the couple took part in five races to qualify of Sochi.
He explained that for each competitor to be eligible, they must participate in cross country events such as 10 kilometers for women and 14 kilometers for men, to determine their FIS points. FIS point calculation is used in skiing to determine someone’s eligibility for games such as the Olympics.
“The official FIS website, WWW.FIS.Com, in its fourth cross-country point listed record 2013-2014 had Angelica 283.37 and Gary 2776.26 respectively,” he said. “These two athletes on their own, not financed by the DOC, between August 2013 and January 2014 competed in New Zealand, USA and Canada to qualify. Gary’s last race was on January 12, 2014 and Angelica’s race was on January 18, 2014. Perseverance, determination and sacrifice were their watch word and Dominica made it. DOC has not expended on cent on our two athletes and the di Silvestris has not given any monies to the DOC, neither has the DOC requested.”
Eyebrows were raised when news broke, before the games, that the ultra-rich couple would be representing Dominica in cross country skiing. When the games began, many in the media began asking questions about them since they were hardly known in international sporting circles. They were accused of being “sports tourists” who scammed their way to the games.