BEIJING, China — One skier is set to make history this February.
Richardson Viano will become the first Haitian to compete in the Winter Olympic Games. He will also be the first Caribbean skier in the history of the Games.
The 19-year-old is competing in the Men’s Alpine Skiing event.
He was adopted in 2005 by an Italian couple living in France after over a year at an orphanage in Haiti, according to the Olympics website.
His father put him on skis as soon as he was able to. The Franco-Italian-Haitian eventually climbed to compete in the international ring.
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“I arrived in France at the age of 3, and my parents from the mountains immediately put me on skis,” Viano said.
Initially aspiring to race for France, Viano changed his mind when the Haitian Ski Federation called, offering the opportunity to ski under the colors of his native flag at 16 years old, the website states.
The look of someone who’s about to make history!
Richardson Viano will soon become the first Haitian to compete at the Olympic Winter Games! 🇭🇹#Beijing2022 pic.twitter.com/2ga7hARrtJ
“I didn’t believe it. I thought it was a joke from a friend. At the end of the call, I did some research on the internet and discovered that there was indeed a ski federation in Haiti. A few days later, I called him back and then we met him with my parents,” Viano said.
On the Olympics website, Viano said the commitment allowed him to get closer to Haiti and the orphanage he was adopted from.
“I really want to go back there to see my roots and especially to give dreams to young people through sport and its values. We don’t have any mountains but we are a proud people despite what falls on us. I now understand what representing a country means,” Viano said.
The Haitian skier will be participating in his first Olympics as he heads to Beijing, representing his native country and breaking stereotypes and boundaries along his journey.
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