East Timor to debut in 2014 Winter Olympics

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Yohan Goutt Goncalves
Yohan Goutt Goncalves

East Timor will be represented at the Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia, for the first time in history, when skier Yohan Goutt Goncalves, whose father is French and whose mother is Timorese, competes in the slalom ski race.

Before he could be sent to Sochi, Goncalves, 19, first had to take the unusual step of creating his country’s national skiing federation, as Agence France-Presse reported. It is unusual because it has never snowed in East Timor and there isn’t even a word for “skiing” in the local language.

Goncalves’ interest in skiing stemmed from his French father but he revealed his ambition was always to compete for his mother’s homeland – a former Portuguese colony – which only became a fully sovereign state in 2002 after nearly two decades of conflict with Indonesia which had invaded the island in 1975.

The athlete said he wants to use his appearance in Sochi to project a positive image of his maternal homeland on the international sporting stage.

Goncalves began training to be a skier when he was 12. Most of his preparations for the Olympics have been centered in Australia and Europe.

The Winter Olympics in Sochi begin on February 7 and conclude on February 23.

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Reading Time: 1 minute

Yohan Goutt Goncalves

East Timor will be represented at the Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia, for the first time in history, when skier Yohan Goutt Goncalves, whose father is French and whose mother is Timorese, competes in the slalom ski race.

Reading Time: 1 minute

Yohan Goutt Goncalves
Yohan Goutt Goncalves

East Timor will be represented at the Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia, for the first time in history, when skier Yohan Goutt Goncalves, whose father is French and whose mother is Timorese, competes in the slalom ski race.

Before he could be sent to Sochi, Goncalves, 19, first had to take the unusual step of creating his country’s national skiing federation, as Agence France-Presse reported. It is unusual because it has never snowed in East Timor and there isn’t even a word for “skiing” in the local language.

Goncalves’ interest in skiing stemmed from his French father but he revealed his ambition was always to compete for his mother’s homeland – a former Portuguese colony – which only became a fully sovereign state in 2002 after nearly two decades of conflict with Indonesia which had invaded the island in 1975.

The athlete said he wants to use his appearance in Sochi to project a positive image of his maternal homeland on the international sporting stage.

Goncalves began training to be a skier when he was 12. Most of his preparations for the Olympics have been centered in Australia and Europe.

The Winter Olympics in Sochi begin on February 7 and conclude on February 23.

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