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Charlotte Amalie
Monday, August 8, 2022
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V.I. Skiers Qualify for Winter Olympic Games

National reporters chronicling the return of the Jamaican bobsled team to this year’s Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia, have also been talking about another phenom: 22-year-old Jasmine Campbell, who will most likely be representing the territory in the slalom and giant slalom (alpine skiing) events.

Campbell and fellow St. Johnian Veronica Gaspar, 18, both earned the five qualifying finishes needed for the Olympics, but V.I. Olympic Committee head Angel Morales explained Tuesday that no one country can have two athletes competing in the same standard.

"Both have qualified but we have to make a final decision," Morales said in an interview with the Source. "Both have been competiting all during the winter season the one with the highest points – because they both have been competing in various international events – will be the one representing the Virgin Islands. I need to hear from the federation on the final standing."

It looks like Campbell is in the lead, though, and the national media is already talking about her hopes for the slopes. Giant slalom involves skiing between sets of poles spaced at a distance to each other. The vertical drop for a course is usually around 1,200 feet. On average a giant slalom racer may reach speeds of 50 mph. In slalom, poles are spaced much closer together than in giant slalom. Racers must pass approximately 50-60 poles in slalom to reach finish.

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Coming off her junior year at Whitman College, Campbell’s best finish last season was a 14th place in an international FIS race in Sun Valley, Idaho.

Campbell left the Caribbean at age 10 and moved to Idaho with her family. She also told reporters that she is looking forward to carrying the V.I. flag at this year’s winter games. Representing the territory has been a tradition in her family: Campbell is the daughter of John Campbell who represented the U.S. Virgin Islands in skiing in the 1992 Winter Olympics in Albertville, France.

"Athletes like Jasmine are the main reason that we’re able to go to the games – and we’re proud to have her," Morales said. "If we don’t have any athletes that qualify, then we can’t participate, and our athletes really do put in a lot of time and finances into achieving these standards, qualifying and following their dreams."

Morales said that once the decision about who will represent the U.S. Virgin Islands is made, the next step will be to head to Russia early next month. One or two of the groups will fly out in advance to make sure everything – from the necessary clearance to booking the hotel rooms – is set up, while the athletes get ready to follow.

"Of course, this is something that gives us in the Virgin Islands a lot of exposure in the world arena," Morales said when asked about the importance of having local athletes compete in the games. "Everybody in the world, especially in those countries where winter sports are big, will be watching and they will get a chance to see us, to learn about the Virgin Islands – and you never know what else might happen."

Jan. 19 is the deadline for qualifiers for this year’s Winter Olympics.

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National reporters chronicling the return of the Jamaican bobsled team to this year's Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia, have also been talking about another phenom: 22-year-old Jasmine Campbell, who will most likely be representing the territory in the slalom and giant slalom (alpine skiing) events.

Campbell and fellow St. Johnian Veronica Gaspar, 18, both earned the five qualifying finishes needed for the Olympics, but V.I. Olympic Committee head Angel Morales explained Tuesday that no one country can have two athletes competing in the same standard.

"Both have qualified but we have to make a final decision," Morales said in an interview with the Source. "Both have been competiting all during the winter season the one with the highest points – because they both have been competing in various international events – will be the one representing the Virgin Islands. I need to hear from the federation on the final standing."

It looks like Campbell is in the lead, though, and the national media is already talking about her hopes for the slopes. Giant slalom involves skiing between sets of poles spaced at a distance to each other. The vertical drop for a course is usually around 1,200 feet. On average a giant slalom racer may reach speeds of 50 mph. In slalom, poles are spaced much closer together than in giant slalom. Racers must pass approximately 50-60 poles in slalom to reach finish.

Coming off her junior year at Whitman College, Campbell’s best finish last season was a 14th place in an international FIS race in Sun Valley, Idaho.

Campbell left the Caribbean at age 10 and moved to Idaho with her family. She also told reporters that she is looking forward to carrying the V.I. flag at this year's winter games. Representing the territory has been a tradition in her family: Campbell is the daughter of John Campbell who represented the U.S. Virgin Islands in skiing in the 1992 Winter Olympics in Albertville, France.

"Athletes like Jasmine are the main reason that we're able to go to the games – and we're proud to have her," Morales said. "If we don't have any athletes that qualify, then we can't participate, and our athletes really do put in a lot of time and finances into achieving these standards, qualifying and following their dreams."

Morales said that once the decision about who will represent the U.S. Virgin Islands is made, the next step will be to head to Russia early next month. One or two of the groups will fly out in advance to make sure everything – from the necessary clearance to booking the hotel rooms – is set up, while the athletes get ready to follow.

"Of course, this is something that gives us in the Virgin Islands a lot of exposure in the world arena," Morales said when asked about the importance of having local athletes compete in the games. "Everybody in the world, especially in those countries where winter sports are big, will be watching and they will get a chance to see us, to learn about the Virgin Islands – and you never know what else might happen."

Jan. 19 is the deadline for qualifiers for this year's Winter Olympics.