Just as he did during the Vancouver games in 2010, Travers is attracting an outsize share of attention from news agencies that are intrigued by his proficiency in the sport despite Cayman’s lack of snow and vertical dimension. Once again in the public spotlight, Travers is conducting himself in a manner that reflects well on all of us back home.
Cayman’s delegation, including Travers, chef de mission David Carmichael and coach Jake Zamansky, was a hit during the Parade of Nations portion of Friday’s opening ceremony. Millions of people across the world were watching as Travers proudly waved the Cayman flag, which made for the stunning photograph that appears on the front page of today’s Compass.
Indeed, media outlets from all over have published images of Cayman’s delegation — who were dressed smartly in light blue snow jackets emblazoned with the Cayman flag, and with some added Caribbean flair in the form of red swim shorts and black flip-flops.
NBC named Cayman’s team uniform as one of the best in Sochi, and the team’s appearance has also been highlighted by CBS News and People Magazine, while Travers has been interviewed by the Christian Science Monitor, CNN, and many others. Website BuzzFeed.com devoted a blog post to Travers, ranking him first overall for “hotness” on Cayman’s one-person team.
And, by the way, while all of the positive publicity warms our hearts, it also may contribute to our bank accounts and bring tourists to our shores. For the 2010 Vancouver games, Cayman’s Department of Tourism estimated that press coverage on Travers reached more than 46 million readers and was valued at more than $260,000.
Travers’s popularity with the media aside, he’s no slouch on the slopes either, having established himself as a serious contender in many international competitions. In Sochi, Travers will be skiing in the men’s giant slalom (Feb. 19) and slalom (Feb. 22) events.
Meanwhile, while Dow is about to compete in Sochi, his younger brother Dean, 17, is in Quebec City, Canada, where he will race in the Nor-Am downhill events this week. Dean may well be a contender in the 2018 winter Olympics in South Korea.
Because of the precariousness of his sport, where the margin of victory is often measured in tenths of a second and an unfortunate slip (at incredibly high speeds) can end one’s Olympic hopes, we will hesitate to predict the likelihood of Travers bringing home a medal. Our view, medal or not, is that he is already a remarkable success, and we, along with all Caymanians and his many followers around the world, will be cheering him on.
Readers may be somewhat surprised to learn that Travers isn’t the only Cayman resident competing in Sochi. Men’s mogul skier Dale Begg-Smith — who lives in Grand Cayman — is representing Australia and should be considered a favorite to appear on the podium, considering he won gold in Turin in 2006 and silver in Vancouver in 2010. Well-wishes from Cayman to you, too, Dale.