Friday, February 26, 2010
It’s been a wild Winter Games this year, hasn’t it? From the horrific tragedy on the Olympic luge to Tucker Murphy’s highly acclaimed Bermuda shorts, the storylines from Vancouver have been plenty. And as the Games are set to close this weekend—what I’m sure will be yet another colorful ceremony—let me offer just one more. It’s been well-reported that Bermuda had just one athlete in this year’s Olympics, the aforementioned Tucker Murphy who finished 88th out of 95 starters in Monday’s 15-kilometer cross-country skiing event. But did you know we almost had two? That indeed there was another Bermudian in this year’s Games, but she competed for France instead? As was first reported in the Bermuda Sun, pairs figure skater Vanessa James couldn’t find a local sponsor to make her Olympic dream come true, so she found her own way to the Games: Along with partner Yannick Bonheur, she won last year’s French National Championships, which qualified the duo for Vancouver making them the first black pairs skaters to ever compete in the Olympic Games. Pretty heady stuff. That's the pair at last year's International Skating Union competition, where they placed fourth. Unfortunately at their event in Vancouver the pair came in 14th, but I’m sure the thrill of competing on such grand stage was medal enough. At the very least, James and Bonheur have cemented themselves into Olympic immortality—a true athletic achievement that bypasses nationality and is way shinier than gold.