- Dow Travers can hold his head high as Cayman’s first ever Winter Olympian who
actually managed to complete the gruelling giant slalom course with two
excellent runs in Canada on Tuesday.
did not finish, including Bode Miller, who missed a gate and pulled up on the
first run. Miller has won a clutch of medals in a glittering Olympic career but
only his first gold just two days before. Travers will forever have the
satisfaction of ‘beating’ the celebrated American.
negotiated the gates superbly at Whistler Creekside, finishing his first run in
1 minute 29.39 seconds to move from 101st up to 75th. The 22-year-old
geo-biology student at Brown University, Rhode Island, moved up the standings
again on his second run to finish 69th with an overall time of 3.02.89, which
was 25 seconds behind the gold medallist Carlo Janka of Switzerland, but no
less an achievement. The Norwegians Kjetil Jansrud and Askel Lund Svindal took
silver and third respectively.
top skiers are full-timers, born into the sport with all the resources
imaginable. Travers only started skiing seriously at 14 but has to juggle it
with studies and snatching practice time for a few weeks a year when not in
was a great honour to represent my country,” Travers said. “We have a long line
of great summer athletes and it’s wonderful that we can translate that to the
slopes here. My second run was a little slower but I was a little tired and had
to deal with a little fog. I’m inexperienced but will hopefully improve in the
future. I’m pleased that I moved up 32 spots, coming from the back of the pack.
was a huge amount of adrenaline at the start and the best part was coming to
the finish line. I don’t really think it counts as beating Bode Miller and I’m
sure he’ll ask for a rematch!”
Cayman has made Travers a media curiosity. The comparisons with the Jamaican
bobsled team are inevitable.
has been incredibly friendly here. It’s not like the Cool Runnings film when
everybody’s out to get each other. It’s been a great experience so far. Cayman
and Jamaica were the same country, I believe, until 58 years ago so we have a
lot of close links and ties.”
Travers Family: Dow, Mary-Anne, Dean and Anthony
trader Jerry Beck cheered Travers on with a group of other Cayman residents.
“It’s great to see some support from Cayman. I hear plenty of people back home
were pretty excited,” added Travers.
at a massive handicap against everyone I race against. They train in excess of
200 days a year and I struggle to find 50. I qualified here, basically, on a
hunt for snow. It was in Chile about a year and a half ago where I scored my
first qualifying result, which is set in place by the International Olympic
Committee. I live in Cayman but basically go round the planet searching snow,
mainly in Aspen, Colorado. Whenever I’m not racing for Brown I’m in Aspen.”
father Anthony Travers is chairman of the Cayman Islands Stock Exchange and the
Cayman Islands Financial Services Association. The skier’s mother, Mary-Anne,
spends much of the year in a family house in Aspen where brothers Dillon, 18,
and Dean, 13, enjoy a lot more skiing than Dow.
initial Olympic experience has been a marvellous one. “It’s great how friendly
everyone has been and my best moment was yesterday when I was free skiing. It
was my first time ever on a nice, hard, world class hill and I couldn’t stop
interesting aside is that Dow could one day set another Olympic mark because
rugby sevens will be introduced into the 2016 Summer Games in Brazil and having
played for Cayman’s Under-19 and U20 sides in sevens and 15s, he could be
collecting more Olympic kudos. He is a wing and fullback in 15s and prop in
sevens. (When an English reporter heard this he asked Travers if he has any
British ancestry so that he could be poached for the struggling England side!)
But Dow won’t renounce his Cayman passport. “If we win the Caribbean Championships,
it’s a matter of progressing in the tournaments to qualify for that.”
what’s next for the talented all-rounder? “I’ll be going back to Brown and
playing rugby in April, then the rugby Caribbean Championships and Central
American and Caribbean Games in the summer. Then I’ll go off to South America
for a few weeks to train on the slopes again. I’ll definitely try to get back
to the Olympics in four years.
brothers live in Aspen so they’ll have the start offs there that I didn’t. Dean
is actually coming on pretty well. He was second in the Junior Olympics last
year and here in the Whistler Cup he came third, a huge international event. So
if he hasn’t booted me out of my spot then you’ll be seeing me in 2014.”
Travers said: “We’re very happy for Dow. It was a very solid result. He started
101st and moved all the way up to 69th and I think that’s a tremendous
performance. There’s no question he could have gone a little faster but he did
the right thing. He was very solid through the turns and showed nice form and
he finished, which was the crucial thing. Bode Miller didn’t have the best of
days! “The most important
thing here is that Dow substantially improved his International Ski Federation
points. That was a personal best by a very long way. You can’t ask for more
than to go to the Olympics and provide a personal best.”