If you watched Friday’s Opening Ceremonies, you probably saw them. Lone athletes carrying the flag — and the entirety of the medal hopes — for their seemingly out-of-place country. Bermuda? Cayman Islands? Tonga?
In Sochi, 18 countries sent just one athlete to the Games. It’s easy to understand the stories behind the athletes from Winter Olympics superpowers like Norway, Russia and the United States, but what about these lone delegates? How does a Caribbean Island native get into skiing? Their stories are below.
Bermuda — Tucker Murphy, cross-country skiing
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The island nation isn’t exactly known for its snow, but Murphy has managed to travel to more wintry climes for training purposes. A Dartmouth grad, Murphy was also Bermuda’s only representative in Vancouver in 2010.
Cayman Islands — Dow Travers, alpine skiing
Born and raised on Grand Cayman, Travers became the Caribbean nation’s first Winter Olympian in 2010, and he’s back again as the lone representative. The son of a finance guru, Travers (like Murphy, an Ivy Leaguer) says he got his start in skiing during family vacations to Colorado.
Hong Kong — Pan To Barton Lui, short track speed skating
Barton Lui is Hong Kong’s first ever male Winter Olympian. He’ll compete in the 1500-meter event, despite the notable handicap of living in a subtropical city with no ice rink of suitable standard for training. He got his start roller skating and ultimately moved to Vancouver to continue his training.
Kyrgyzstan — Dmitry Trelevski, alpine skiing
Weather certainly isn’t a problem in the Central Asian nation.
Zimbabwe — Luke Steyn, alpine skiing
The 20-year-old Steyn was born in the capital of Harare before his father’s job took him to the snow-covered havens of France and Switzerland at a very young age. The BBC caught up with Steyn shortly before he left for Sochi to talk about his path.