The Sochi Network

Crook puts British Virgin Islands back on Winter Games map

The Sochi Network

France's Kevin Rolland performs a jump during the men's freestyle skiing halfpipe qualification round.

To Adam Crook it made no difference that he finished second-last men's ski halfpipe qualifiers on Tuesday, it was enough that he had become the first athlete from the British Virgin Islands to compete at a Winter Olympics for 30 years.

Speedskater Errol Spence, who raced in Sarajevo in 1984, is the only other athlete the Caribbean nation has sent to a Winter Games, and it almost did not have one in Sochi either.

"When we first went to the British Virgin Islands Olympic Committee, they thought I was talking about water skiing," the 21-year-old told reporters.

"After that it was pretty easy. Once they figured out what it was that I actually did."

Crook was born in Tortola in the British Virgin Islands before moving to his mother's native Wisconsin in the United States when he was eight. It was there that he discovered his aptitude for skiing, which quickly consumed him.

"I went to a high school in Colorado, Vail Ski and Snowboard Academy, where we were able to train full time and go to school full time, so I was able to graduate from high school and compete full time," he said.

Making it to the Olympics was a little more difficult, as the British Virgin Islands had no winter sports bodies that could accommodate his dream.

"There's a British Virgin Islands Olympic Committee (BVIOC) because they have so many summer athletes," he says.

"My dad and I had to set up the British Virgin Islands Ski Association, which allowed us compete at an international level and at world cups under the BVIOC."

As an official of the governing body they set up, his father Barney was able to march alongside his son as he carried the country's flag during the opening ceremony.

His Olympic dream realised, a delighted Crook would not be drawn on whether or not he planned to compete at the next Winter Games in Pyeongchang, Korea in 2018.

"I don't know, I hope to pass the torch to somebody else," he said, smiling. "I'd love to see someone else make it here too."

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