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Sporting Students
Most of the first conversations I had with people at the Olympics
went along the lines of: "Where are you from? Have you got a pin?
What sport are you competing in?" I met a lot of different people,
from different countries, with different lifestyles, however we all
shared a common dream: to compete at the Olympic Games. And
there we were. It sounds incredibly cliche, but representing one's
country at the Olympics is the ultimate dream for any athlete.
Sochi 2014 was an amazing experience: waking up each morning in
a gorgeous mountain setting dotted with buildings decorated with
various flags, and sharing meals and training with athletes from
other countries. I couldn't wait to compete.
However, I was "unlucky". In a training accident four days before my
event, I fractured the first lumbar vertebra in my spine. I'm not the
only one who was "unlucky". At such a high level, when skiers crash,
they usually crash and burn. At the clinic I saw others: fractured
shoulders, broken legs, disfigured faces. It is at times like these when
you can really see a person's strength of character.
I experienced everything the Olympics have to offer, apart from the
actual competition. Holding our flag at the Closing Ceremony, despite
how much it hurt my back, was one of the happiest moments of my
life. I am an Olympian. But the journey doesn't stop here. All the pain
I felt, both physical and psychological because of my injury and in-
ability to race, is what makes me want to fight for PyeongChang2018.
As Pierre de Coubertin, father of the modern Olympic Games, said:
"The most important thing in the Olympic Games is not winning but
taking part; the essential thing in life is not conquering but fighting
we are very proud of Alexandra, sportswoman of the
year, who this year took part as one of three Cypriot
athletes in the winter olympics in Sochi. She recounts
her amazing experience below.
Cyprus Ski Federation athletes (and brothers) Manos and Yiannos
Kouyoumdjian recently represented the island at the Pan Armenian
Winter Games, held in Armenia between February 21 and March 2,
the first time for either of them.
Seventeen-year old Yiannos finished third in the slalom event, de-
spite competing against very strong opposition. First in this event
was 21-year-old Georgian champion with the Armenian champion
taking second place. Both these athletes represented their countries
in the Winter Olympics held earlier this year in Sochi.
In the giant slalom event, Yiannos finished 7th out of 70 athletes.
This was the second time Yiannos took part in an International Ski
Federation (FIS) event this year, improving his overall performance
and promising a bright future for the Cyprus skier.
His brother, Manos, who is currently carrying out his military serv-
ice, finished in 8th and 9th position in the giant slalom and slalom
events respectively, out of a total 70 athletes who competed.
These are great results in spite of the difficulties of having access to
snow to practice on due to his limited release from the army.
Yiannos (left)
with his brother
Manos who
graduated the
ES in 2013
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