Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Campbell is only Olympian from Virgin Islands

Headed for Sochi Feb. 5

     Hailey’s Jasmine Campbell is the only Virgin Islands athlete who has been nominated by the U.S. territory for the 2014 Winter Olympics at Sochi, Russia in February. The 22-year-old plans to leave for the Olympics on Feb. 5.

     The Mountain Express reported incorrectly Friday that Campbell and Veronica Gaspar, two skiers with Sun Valley ties, were nominated to represent the U.S. Virgin Islands at the Sochi Olympics.

     While both athletes earned the FIS (International Ski Federation) qualifying points required to make the Olympics, the Virgin Islands is granted only one berth by the International Olympic Committee.

     Jasmine is the daughter of John Campbell, who represented the Virgin Islands in alpine skiing at the 1992 Winter Games in France. John Campbell explained the procedure by which the Virgin Islands Olympic Committee (VIOC) made its decision.

     John Campbell said in an email, “As of four months ago, both Veronica and Jasmine had met the qualification standards for going to the Olympics. However, since the Virgin Islands is a small territory, without a significant depth of alpine racing talent, the International Olympic committee ruled only one athlete is allowed to go to the Olympic games, regardless of how many athletes have qualified.

     “The VIOC then determined that whoever had the lowest combined FIS points in both slalom and GS between Veronica and Jasmine as of Jan. 20, 2014 would get to go. Jasmine's combined points were significantly lower than Veronica’s as of Jan 20, so Jasmine got the nomination. This was announced in the Jan. 21 posting on the VIOC website.”

     Jasmine Campbell, who has completed her junior year at Whitman College in Washington, is the U.S. Virgin Islands’ first Olympic qualifier in women’s alpine skiing since 1988, according to VIOC. She will be the only Olympic representative for the Virgin Islands.

     Helped by grants from the IOC, Campbell and 18-year-old Gaspar since last summer competed in a series of FIS alpine ski races in South America and the Far East to gain the necessart FIS points. Campbell trained and raced with the Argentinean ski team.

     In FIS racing in China in December, Campbell became the first skier from the Virgin Islands to reach the podium in an international ski race, finishing second and third in giant slalom Dec. 11-12 at Beidahu Ski Resort. She also put up a pair of fourth places in slalom at Beidahu Dec. 13-14.

     Most of Jasmine’s training as a young athlete was with the Hailey Ski Team, for six years after the Campbell family moved to Sun Valley when she was nine.   

     She raced with the Sun Valley Ski Education Foundation for a year in high school, then for the last two years when training for the Olympics, her father said.

     The Mountain Express regrets the error in announcing the Virgin Islands Olympic selection.

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