'The only thing I wanted was to win'
André Lowe, Senior Staff Reporter
A medal finish was not to be, but Jamaican Olympic skier Errol Kerr has ensured that the tiny tropical island will be considered a top-10 ski-cross nation after his impressive ninth-place finish at the 21st Winter Olympic Games in Vancouver, Canada, yesterday.
Kerr avoided a pile-up in his first race to qualify for the second round but just missed out on a semi-final spot with a time of 1:13.71 in the debut of the all-action event, which was won by Swiss skier Michael Schmid in 1:12.53. Canada's Christopher Del Bosco (1:12.89) claimed the silver, while France's Xavier Kuhn (1:12.89) finished in the bronze-medal position.
Kerr, who was the youngest among 31 of the world's fastest skiers in the event, was proud of his achievement but expressed disappointment that he was not able to finish among the medals.
"It was a great feeling to represent Jamaica. To wake up this morning (yesterday morning) and go into the competition; that's something that I have been dreaming of since I was a little boy," Kerr told
. "However, I am absolutely disappointed. I went into this with my sights set on the podium. I was never interested in just coming here to compete. The only thing I wanted to do was win."
However, the 23-year-old was pleased with the experience and believes his showing will encourage positive spin-offs for the local programme.
Said Kerr: "To finish ninth at the Winter Olympics is still a great achievement. We finished ahead of many of the great skiing countries. We beat everyone from the US and some of the great powerhouses like the Czech Republic. So to come away with ninth place there is still a lot for us to be happy about."
Satisfaction and pride
Kerr added: "To come out here on the world stage and now we are a top-10 team in this event, this will get the excitement and energy going, but we don't want to stop there, we want to be the number one team in the world."
Sports Minister Olivia Grange, who spoke to the young skier shortly after his last race, has committed to continuing the Government's support of the programme and underlined her satisfaction and pride surrounding his efforts.
"I told him that the country is fully behind him and that we are here to back him," said Grange. "We are confident about the awesome possibilities that exist and his potential, and we certainly won't stop. We believe he has the ability to medal and we will continue to support the programme."