Tuesday, 11 February 2014

Passport Olympians and dual nationality

Veneuzla's sole winter Olympian in Sochi
One unique aspect of the Olympics is the dual citizenship of some Olympians. American Viktor Ahn born Ahn Hyun Soo changed his name and became a Russian citizen to speed skate for Russia after not finding enough support in the United States for short speed skating. He had previously played on the South Korean team again finding the same challenge in financial support and necessary track to practice skating. Another pair of Americans, sibling team figure skating duo Chris and Cathy Reed are representing Japan. Both brother and sister were born in Michigan to an American dad and Japanese mom. The Reed siblings train in New Jersey nevertheless prior to the Sochi Games. However they decided to go with their mother's country for the games. There are many reasons for olympians switching nationalities to compete in the games. Climate and season is an obvious reason. The 2 member Jamaican bob sledding team returning to the Olympics for the first time in 12 years, had to relocate to Wyoming in the US to practice. Tropical and Mediterranean countries including Sochi's warm weather is a challenge for many Olympians wanting to compete in the Winter Olympics. Zimbabwe recently sent its first Winter Olympian Luke Steyn to Sochi for sking competition. He moved to London but was still able to practice alpine skiing across Western Europe. Limited appropriate equipment or track courses as in Ahn's case is another obstacle. Russian American Simon Snapir was born in Moscow came to America when he was one years old with his parents. He represents the United States in the team figure skating. Despite the obstacles, the bureaucratic red tape that comes with naturalization and citizenship and the literal thousands of miles each Olympian has traveled to represent their home or adapted countries, many will enjoy an experience most people can only see or .

Passport Olympians and winter games

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