SA skier gets icy reception

2014-02-09 14:00

While many South Africans will follow the 2014 Winter Olympics live on SuperSport, the internet and mobile platforms, for the first time since 1994, this country has no representative.

Snow Sport SA (SSSA) is still reeling from the fact that the nation’s only hopeful this year, alpine skier Sive Speelman, was denied a chance to compete at the event, which ends later this month.

Speelman (18) was set to be the country’s only participant and part of a small group of three African countries – Zimbabwe, Togo and Morocco – to have qualified. SSSA president Peter Pilz said this week the lad from Barkly East in Eastern Cape would have promoted South Africa as a developing snow-sport country in Sochi.

“The exclusion of Sive has held back the development of sport in the country,” said Pilz, adding Speelman’s participation in Sochi would have also united the nation.

“We didn’t want to challenge Sascoc’s [the SA Sports Confederation and Olympic Committee’s] decision because we respect the Olympic ideals. However, we were disappointed some people believe someone is ‘not good enough to win a medal’.”

Speelman had qualified under international rules but Sascoc ruled he did not meet their stringent selection criteria and that the budding skier was ranked 2?290th in the world. The Court of Arbitration for Sport this week dismissed appeals by two skiers after Daniela Bauer of Austria and Clyde Getty of Argentina were left out by their countries. What could once more bring tears of joy to the eyes of followers is the participation of the Jamaicanbobsleigh team.

This will surely remind many of Jamaica’s inspirational journey to the 1988 Games, the story of which was later told in the film Cool Runnings.

Zimbabwean skier Luke Steyn (20), meanwhile, has became the southern African country’s first Winter Olympics athlete.

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