Peruvian cross-country skier Roberto Carcelén said in the following video that he was competing in the Winter Olympics despite breaking several ribs and in order to “set a good example”.
For the Winter Olympians representing countries from Latin America and the Caribbean, the odds of reaching the medals podium are very slim. Thus, the primary goal for most of these athletes is to complete their respective sport and bring pride to themselves and their nations.
Perhaps no other competitor from the region symbolizes this ideal like Peruvian cross-country skier Roberto Carcelén.
Last year Carcelén announced that he would retire from the Winter Games in Sochi but it looked like he would have to skip the Olympics after injuring himself while training in January. He suffered from several broken ribs and was told by doctors that he should not compete in Sochi. Yet Carcelén would not be deterred from heading to the Olympics.
“Sometimes the road to success is about pushing through, being persistent and don't move your target goal around despite adversity,” said Carcelén on his personal blog. “This is one of the biggest challenges I have ever faced. But this is what the Olympic spirit is all about! isn't [sic]?” he added.
One week after Carcelén was Peru's flag bearer at the opening ceremony of the Winter Games in Sochi, he participated in the Men’s 15-kilometer Classic race. Though he suffered from intense pain and fell into last place, Carcelén continued trudging along slowly but surely.
As he headed into the final turn, the 43-year-old went towards the crowd roaring at him in support and received a Peruvian flag. He soon after crossed the finish line with his country’s flag in hand and was greeted by race winner Dario Cologna of Switzerland and Dachhiri Sherpa of Nepal who finished next-to-last.
“It was a very difficult race for me,” Carcelén said after the race that he completed in a time of 1 hour, 6 minutes and 29.9 seconds. “There are people with flu at the village and it was hard for me to breathe. I was in a lot of pain in my right ribs”.
Four years ago Carcelén made history as Peru's first ever Winter Olympian and finish 94th in the 15KM Classic. On Friday, he finished improved to 87th place and ahead of five competitors who did not complete the course.
“It has been a great honor to make history,” the now-retired Carcelén mentioned. “I hope to have helped inspire people in Peru.” Surely he accomplished this and has also served as an example of perseverance and dedication in the face of adversity.
(Click here to watch video of Carcelén’s finish at the Olympics on Friday).
Video Source– YouTube user ADO Peru
Online Sources – NBC Olympics; RPP; Peru This Week, robertocarcelen.com