Skier Steyn to make Olympics history

HARARE – Skier Luke Steyn will make history today when he becomes the first Zimbabwean athlete to compete at the Winter Olympics in Sochi Russia.

The 20-year-old skier will make his Olympics debut in the giant slalom event this morning with his first run scheduled at 9am Zimbabwe time. Steyn’s second run is set for 12:30pm local time.

This is a historic event considering Zimbabwe last recorded snowfall in the 60s before independence in 1980.

Although the sport of skiing is alien to most African countries, a lot of Zimbabweans will be tuning in to the action live from Sochi to see how Steyn performs on the slopes.

In the history of the Winter Olympics no African has ever won a medal and for Steyn just competing today in itself will be a triumph.

Today is the zenith of Steyn’s long journey that began when his family moved to Europe when he was only two years-old.

The alpine skier has the support of the entire country including the Zimbabwe Olympic Committee and the International Olympic Committee, who have financed his career with a monthly grant of $1 500. 

Steyn, who is currently studying for a business management degree at the University of Colorado in the United States, will have his name inscribed in Zimbabwe’s sporting history.

Writing on his blog on his personal website, Steyn on Monday appeared to have been ready and psyched up for the event.

“After the two days off we jumped back on the slalom skis. Nice to have a bit of a change from giant slalom and all seemed to be where I left off which is good. We have been continuing to train with the smaller nations which is cool; gives me a chance to meet more people,” wrote Steyn.

“Today I took another day off (I promise this is not a holiday, may sound like it!). I was honoured to be invited to breakfast with the president of the IOC, Thomas Bach; was interesting to hear him talk about all the different aspects of the organisation!

“I then went back to bed, which meant that I missed out on the mens Super-G which I regret! Apparently it was an awesome races, so I will have to watch that on t.v when I am home.”

“Tomorrow (yesterday) we plan to train giant slalom again- so I think this will be the last day in gates before the big day of the 19th. I think the organisers have planned for all the athletes to get a couple of runs free skiing on the giant slalom hill on the 18th, but we only find out more tomorrow.”

The Zimbabwean will compete with some of the world’s top ranked skiers like Marcel Hirscher of Austria, United States ski star Ted Ligety and Frenchman Alexis Pinturault.

Alpine skiing – slaloms

Slalom is an alpine skiing discipline, involving skiing between poles (gates) spaced much closer together than in Giant Slalom, Super-G or Downhill, thereby causing quicker and shorter turns.

The slalom is the alpine event with the shortest course and the quickest turns. The giant slalom has fewer turns and wider, smoother turns.

In both events, each skier makes two runs down two different courses on the same slope. The times are added and the fastest total time determines the winner.

In the so-called super combined event, one shortened downhill run is followed by a one-run slalom. The times are added together and the fastest total time determines the winner.  – International Ski Federation

Comments (4)

Thx, u are a star by being achieved top 60 position. We will not forget you. Expect more of our prayers and wishes from national blessings through the Almighty .Thx u again for flying our Flag high. You were one , but a representative of a 20 million sector.Thx blazo. Bravo to u.

roysagonda - 20 February 2014

Thx, u are a star by achieving top 60 position. We will not forget you. Expect more of our prayers and wishes from national blessings through the Almighty .Thx u again for flying our Flag high. You were one , but a representative of a 20 million sector.Thx blazo. Bravo to u.

roysagonda - 20 February 2014

Thx, u are a star by achieving top 60 position. We will not forget you. Expect more of our prayers and wishes from national blessings through the Almighty .Thx u again for flying our Flag high. You were one , but a representative of a 20 million sector.Thx blazo. Bravo to u.

roysagonda - 20 February 2014

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