First East Timorese Ski Athlete Compete at Sochi

Skiing is never actually popular in the eastern countries, especially in the countries that has tropical climate. Putting that aside, there is some interesting story going on Krasnaya Polyana, Sochi, Russia, where the XXII Olympic Winter Game took place.

Last February, 22nd, ski athlete Yohan Goncalves Goutt performed his Olympic debut on slalom skiing. On the cold Russian snow, this East Timorese skier defeated the tough Krasnaya Polyana mountain cluster. Timor Leste, along with Malta, Togo, and Zimbabwe competed in alpine skiing for the first time in history.

Goutt is a son of a French father and East Timorese mother. They moved to Australia and Timor Leste during Goutt’s childhood. He showed his interest in ski when he was two years old. The brave boy started skiing in the Alps. His family threw a joke that he should train harder because someday he’ll be skiing in the Olympics. Now that’s a joke that comes true.

Goutt said that that one joke stays in his mind until now and now he wants this dream to come true. Goutt is 19 years old now and he did well zigzagging against the pole for his slalom ski numbers, representing Timor Leste, where his own ski athlete federation was built. Goutt realize that he has two major roles in Sochi Olympic Winter Game, he is an athlete and a representative for Timor Leste.

“I did something for Timorese. I contributed. I will show everyone that Timor Leste exist, and perhaps someone would invest in East Timor. So that’s a diplomatic role that I bear”, Goutt stated just after training.

He also said that he wants to come back to Timor if he got a sponsor in Sochi. He plan to build sports centers in East Timor. “I’m certain that education is important for the development of a country, but sport can help”, he said.

Goutt visit Timor every year, stays with his family for a month and gets to know the people in Timor. Ski may not be a good sport to develop in Timor. He wants to build sport centers for endurance-boosting sport like soccer, and marathon.

Goutt raised US$ 75.000 to compete in Sochi Winter Olympics. He wants to spread positive news about Timor Leste. “If you type Timor Leste in Google, you’ll find a lot of war and bad things”, Goutt stated. “But we must keep going forward for a better future, and I do hope that sport is a part of it”.

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