SOCHI, February 14. /ITAR-TASS/. Enduring a fractured rib and at an age of 43, the first and only Olympic skier from Peru, Roberto Carcelen, is set to boost off in the 15 kilometers ski race on Friday at the 2014 Winter Games in Russia’s Sochi.
Carcelen first tried himself at skiing in 2006 and, having made a rapid headway, managed to qualify for the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver, which made him the first Peruvian Winter Olympics cross country skier in history.
According to the skier, he has no sponsors and his participation in Sochi is partly financed from his own means and also by the International Olympic Committee (IOC).
“I'm very grateful for your support and for getting me where I am right now,” Carcelen said on his official website. “This is going to be great for Peru and our community!”
Carcelen said that since his arrival in Sochi he had been interviewed by media about a dozen times and the general question was why he was doing all this.
“This is a great opportunity to shine light on children (or everyone) that need a good role model, a good example, an inspiring story," Carcelen said adding that "quitting is not an option."
At the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver Carcelen finished the 15 kilometers classical cross country race with the 94th result. Speaking about his current state of readiness before the Sochi race, the skier said he was in a far better shape comparing to that in Vancouver and the only thing that worried him was his fractured rib.
“I fell down and broke it at one of the training sessions [several weeks ago],” he said. “Now, that I ski the course I feel pain, particularly when the breathing gets hard. However I will not pull out of the race and I do not want to.”
Waving aside his injury and excitement before the forthcoming race, Carcelen said that he was deeply impressed with Sochi as he did not expect to see such infrastructure, which according to him was much better than what he saw in Vancouver.
“I can definitely compare the current Games with Vancouver,” he said. “I can say that the infrastructure of the current Olympics greatly outstrips its predecessor.”
The Peruvian skier also said that before going to Sochi, he and his relatives and friends were worried over safety at the Olympics, but now that he was in Sochi, his previous worries made him smile.
“If anyone asks me about security, I will not hesitate and answer straight away that everything is all right here,” Carcelen said.
“I am very impressed with Russia,” he said adding that after the Olympics he planned to visit Russia again and in particular he wanted to come to Russia’s second largest city of St. Petersburg.