The team around Olympic
skier Dow Travers believes that his performance at the Winter Games in Vancouver will inspire
more Caymanians to emulate him.
Travers, 22, came 69th out
of a field of 103 in the giant slalom at Whistler Creekside on Tuesday. He was
the first Caymanian to compete in a Winter Olympics and he intends to continue
skiing to qualify for the 2014 Games in Russia.
Travers finished with an
overall time of 3 minutes 02.89 seconds in his two runs (he was 75th
after his first run) 25 seconds behind the winner, Switzerland’s Carlo Janka.
But it was a solid performance
for a novice who only gets around 50 days to practice on the slopes a year.
His coach Gene Bridgewater
said: “I definitely have to say that Dow did better than expected. It was a
great day for Cayman. He started at 101st position and finished 69th and that
is a fantastic achievement.
“Any athlete who finishes
better than they are ranked, it’s a great day.
“There was a lot of pressure
on him and to come down the hill the way he did was awesome. In 2014 I think
Dow can move up a lot. Podium might be too much at his age but to make the flip
and get into the top 30 is definitely possible. But he has to put in the 200
days of training each year on the slopes and become a full-time skier. He will
have to improve by 20 seconds to do so. Athletically, he is such a strong kid.
He also has a good base for tactics.”
Donald McLean is the
President of the Cayman Islands Olympic Committee and represented Cayman in
sailing at the Atlanta Olympic Games in 1996.
He said: “I was blown away
by Dow’s performance. He did extremely well and beat one third of the field. I
spoke to the skier from Senegal.
He lives and trains in Austria.
This was his second Olympics yet Dow beat him. He also beat a lot of countries
you wouldn’t expect him to, like Hungary which has a lot more people
and is close to snow. Dow should be very, very proud. I know his coach is and
so is the Olympic Committee. He can’t wait to do it again.
“It’s not so much about
medals. People get far too caught up on medals. It’s about doing your best on
the mountain. The exposure that Cayman is getting at these Winter Games, you
can’t buy that.
“He’s done so many interviews
for TV, radio and magazines. That really justifies it, right there. We’re not a
traditional Winter Olympics country, but it doesn’t matter whether it is summer
or winter, it’s the same team. He qualified and he should go.
“When people ask me how
Cayman got here, I say it’s the same as how the Netherlands got here. You can put
it down to globalisation. People are training all over the world. A lot of our
elite summer athletes are training overseas.
“It’s difficult to foresee
more Winter Olympians from Cayman in skiing but I would encourage the skateboarders
to consider snowboarding. Years ago we had a guy from West Bay
called Lumsden who won snowboard competitions at university. So as we get more
and more of our students going overseas, in the US and Canada, they will become
involved in snow sports, now they know they can aspire to go to the Olympics.
Dow is the first Cayman Winter Olympian and I’m pretty sure he won’t be the
There has been a little
criticism of the cost to Cayman for Travers to compete in Vancouver.
McLean added: “What we do, we do legitimately. We’ve got to be a
very transparent organisation. There is no funny business with money. We have audited
accounts. What people don’t really know is that we don’t take any Olympic fundraising
money to pay for officers of the Olympic Committee to travel. That’s all paid
for by the International Olympic Committee. But you can never please all the people
in Cayman. Online, I’ve seen more positive comments than negative ones and I’m
Carson Ebanks is the
Secretary General of the Cayman Islands Olympic Committee and has the distinction
of being the first Caymanian at an Olympics, Montreal in 1976, in sailing. Ebanks competed
in two other Olympics.
He said: “We are overjoyed
by Dow’s fantastic achievement. From when we first started in the Olympics in
1976 we knew that we would advance ourselves. It’s taken quite a while to get
into the Winter Olympics.
“That was primarily through
the efforts of Tony Travers (Dow’s father). It was his idea and the Olympic
Committee supported that idea. Dow has inspired other youngsters and should
also be encouraged to further himself; after all, he is only 22.
“Everybody I meet here has
been so supportive and welcoming. They say it is fantastic to see to see a
small country like the Cayman Islands, especially
in a non-traditional winter sports country getting involved in the Winter
“This is what it is really
all about; making new friends, getting some synergy, some exposure for the Cayman Islands and we certainly did that.”
David Carmichael is the Chef de Mission. He said: “Dow
is fantastic. I don’t believe anyone in Cayman can possibly get close to what
that man has done. He did absolutely brilliantly. I’m totally choked to be
here. He rewrote history and that is fabulous. Being the first Chef de Mission
at a Winter Olympics has been a huge job. A lot of people don’t realise that
for a man to ski down a hill it needs a big entourage to help.”