Of the 75 nations competing at the alpine ski world championships, we’re happy to hear a few of the athletes included skiers from Haiti.
Haitian born skier Celine Marti recently competed in her second World Ski Championships. The skier stepped onto the world’s stage again to the cheers of all the ski fans along the track and in the finish area. “I had such a great time the first time around in Switzerland two years ago. People asked me for autographs, and I was wondering why anybody would want my signature,” she laughs.
According to ViaTT, in 2016 when friends in her ski club mentioned the annual Haitian Alpine Ski Championships that are held in the French resort Les Gets, a competition that is open to anybody willing to go down a snowy hill on skis, Haitian or not, Celine met her coach Thierry Montillet from the Haiti Ski Federation. After witnessing her great skiing skills, he encouraged her to sign up for the 2017 St. Moritz World Ski Championships.
Marti grew up in Switzerland after being adopted as a young child. She’s part of the small team that makes up the Fédération Haïtienne de Ski who are trying to promote sports and skiing in Haiti.
Celine qualified for the finals in both slalom and giant slalom and found herself standing at the top of a steep and icy race track in front of tens of thousands of cheering Swiss ski fans. To experience that feeling again, she participated in the Åre 2019 women’s slalom and giant slalom.
According to Dpainternational, a mission which began following Haiti’s 2010 earthquake continues nine years later when Jean-Pierre Roy competes at his fifth alpine ski world championships.
The 55-year-old president of the Haitian ski federation and his country’s only competitive male skier was in Are, Sweden to take part in the giant slalom and slalom. He is far from the fastest, and could even be the slowest, but he is honored to be Haiti’s flagbearer in Sweden. And with three grandchildren claims to be the only grandfather at the starting gate. He is also proud to have always completed his runs at world championships, even if his name is usually to be found at the end of the qualification round results.
“I finished all my races and this is very important because if you finish you are on the list,” he told dpa. Roy is often in the capital Port-au-Prince to help sports associations find and foster talent. Roy aims to raise the image of the country and continue raising funds to help it rebuild following the devastation of the 2010 earthquake – the original motivation for establishing the ski federation.
The federation is entirely self-funded, and its small team is in Are at its own expense and with the help of sponsors.
The FIS Alpine World Ski Championships 2019 were held from February 4-17, 2019 in Åre, Sweden.