The South African Sports Confederation and Olympic Committee (SASCOC) has named the team to represent South Africa at the Lillehammer 2016 Winter Youth Olympic Games in Norway from 12-21 February 2016. One athlete, Rachel Elizabeth Olivier who will compete in the Slalom and Giant Slalom events in Skiing, will represent South Africa. She will be accompanied by her coach, former Winter Olympian Alex Heath and Chef de Mission, Patience Shikwambana.
Olivier has participated in various International Ski Federation Championships, National Junior and Senior Championships where she produced excellent performances and placed in the top six positions. In her last race before qualification (in Leogang, Austria), she attained a time of one minute 28.85 seconds, 17 seconds off the first place. She has therefore satisfied the International Olympic Committee (IOC/SASCOC and International Federation) selection criteria.
In 2012 Sive Speelman represented South Africa in the Alpine Skiing discipline at the inaugural Winter Youth Olympic Games in Innsbruck, Austria. Announcing the team, SASCOC CEO Tubby Reddy said: ‘We congratulate Rachel who is the only athlete from South Africa taking part in the Winter Youth Olympic Games this year. We wish Rachel well in her competitions and we hope that in future Team South Africa will be represented by more than one athlete at these Games. She is a strong athlete considering her results at previous championships so it is our hope that she puts up a good performance in Norway.’
African nations are not regular participants in Winter Olympic Games mainly due to geographical reasons with very little snow of competition quality experienced on the continent.
Photo credit: WESSEL OOSTHUIZEN / SASPA