Trinidad and Tobago’s Abigail Vieira (right) being congratulated by her sister and assistant coach Ria Vieira after she became the first athlete to represent the Caribbean island at the Youth Winter Olympic Games. (Picture by Anmar Goodridge-Boyce.)
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When the Olympic history of Trinidad and Tobago is written Abigail Vieira’s name will surely be on the list.
The 17-year-old Alpine skier became the first ever athlete to represent the Caribbean island at the Lausanne 2020 Winter Youth Olympic Games yesterday.
She was born in Boston to Trinidadian parents and could have competed for the United States, but she opted to ski for the Land of the Hummingbird in the Women’s Super G event.
“This is the greatest day for me. I wanted to ski for Trinidad because they never had a skier before at the Youth Olympics,” said Vieira just after crossing the finish line.
“I just thought it would be a great opportunity to show that part of me and it’s very special to me because my parents are from Trinidad. Yes, I could have chosen the US but I can share more of my story this way,” she said.
Vieira looked very confident coming down the steep hill, showing good balance and strength to finish 42nd in a field of 62 competitors, clocking a time of 1:02.58.
But the result in her first Olympic event did not really matter for the teenager.
She was extremely upbeat after her performance, especially after receiving cheers for her brave efforts. Vieira said that having the Trinidad and Tobago flag around her and family members at the side made it a memorable day for her in Switzerland.
“It is a crazy feeling. Today [yesterday] I have represented a part of me that has not been shown on slopes before. It is awesome to have the opportunity and be here. It is great to have my family there. My family is such a great support system.
“Whenever I am feeling nervous or down, they are always here to pick me up. I am lucky to have them here,” she added.
Her parents could not contain their emotions and quickly embraced the debutante.
“She put in so much work and she did well. I am struggling to find the words. I am proud, excited and overwhelmed,” dad Richard Vieira said.
He also said it was an honour to see his youngest daughter on the Olympic stage.
“I came here with no expectations at all. I want to put no pressure on her, and I want her to enjoy the experience. I feel blessed to see her competing and doing it for Trinidad and Tobago as well,” he said. (AGB)