January 31

Sochi Olympics lure first-ever participants from tiny Dominica

The American-born cross-country skiing couple make up the Caribbean nation’s team – the whole team.

By Matt Volz
The Associated Press

(Continued from page 1)

click image to enlarge

Cross-country skiers Gary and Angelica di Silvestri pose for a photo at the Yellowstone Club in Big Sky, Mont., where they have been finishing their training for the Sochi Olympics.

The Associated Press

Dorsett expects interest in winter sports will rise after Sochi, particularly among the large number of the nation’s students attending school in the U.S. and Canada.

“Many expatriate children, I think, are willing and able and want to get on board now that they know the door is opened,” he said.

The di Silvestris do not keep a residence in Dominica. They first visited the island several years ago as tourists and fell in love with it, Angelica said.

They returned and made financial contributions to the country’s educational system and other projects identified by the government to improve the island and the life of its residents – the di Silvestris declined to elaborate on the projects and the amount they contributed.

In return, the Dominican government granted them citizenship.

Now, Angelica has dual Italian-Dominican citizenship, while Gary – a Staten Island native – has three passports: American, Italian and Dominican.

Once the Sochi Olympics are over, they plan to continue competing, with their eyes already on the Nordic World Ski Championships in Sweden in 2015. They also said they plan to continue being ambassadors for their sport in Dominica and around the world.

“This isn’t just an Olympic issue, it’s to provide the incentive for any Caribbean nation to get involved in winter sports,” Gary said.

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