KRASNAYA POLYANA, Russia (AP) — Adam Crook’s first hints at becoming a Winter Olympian for the British Virgin Islands took the top brass there by surprise.
“They thought I was talking about water skiing,” he said.
Nope. Freestyle skiing.
The 21-year-old became the first winter athlete to compete for his island country in 30 years (the late Errol Spence was a speedskater for the country at the 1984 Sarajevo Olympics) when he took to the halfpipe Tuesday.
He finished 27th, though the result wasn’t as important as the mission.
Crook’s parents, Lin and Barney, met while working in Tortola, later moved back to Lin’s hometown in Wisconsin and are now back in the islands.
To realize his dream of skiing in the Olympics, Adam had to move to Colorado for ski school. To fund his career, he cobbled together money from Olympic scholarship funds, sponsors and, of course, his parents.
He and his folks essentially are the British Virgin Islands Ski Association, a federation they had to start so he could enter World Cup events Crook needed to make the Olympics.
At the opening ceremony, Adam was the flagbearer and the entire delegation of athletes for his country, which sends a much larger group — mostly in track and field — to the Summer Games.
Maybe in four years, he’ll have company.
“It’s a huge honor to represent my home country here,” he said, “and put it back on the chart.”
— By Eddie Pells — http://twitter.com/epells
Associated Press reporters are filing dispatches about happenings in and around Sochi during the 2014 Winter Games. Follow AP journalists covering the Olympics on Twitter: http://apne.ws/1c3WMiu