- Rachelle Fernandez
A world away from the Wasatch Front, 9th & 9th resident Sebastián Uprimny is the first ever to represent his home country of Colombia in the Winter Olympic Games in the men's 15 km free cross-country skiing event this Friday. Uprimny first caught a glimpse of the world's most competitive platform during the Salt Lake City Winter Olympics in 2002, as a volunteer for a sports broadcasting network. Now at 42, the married father of four is fighting for the gold and representing his homeland, as well as Utah, in Pyeongchang.
What was it like when you found out you qualified?
My uncle was the first to call me, and he told me, "You are going to the biggest stage ever."So, it took time to sink in. I think it's really going to get into my mind when I get there. It has been just crazy.
How has the community reacted?
It's been very exciting; my social media has exploded. It's been really nice to see people so excited—not only my family but people that I don't even know. It's kind of crazy to see both locally and back in my country the amount of support we are getting.
What drove you to fulfill your dream of competing in the Olympics?
For me, just to make this happen is a dream come true. Since I was a kid I wanted to be an athlete. I never spent a lot of time on just one sport, so this was my opportunity. I grabbed it and I am thrilled to represent Colombia. This is a dream come true after 20-something years.
How did you keep your age from deterring you from your goals?
I know a guy from Mexico [Germán Madrazo], and I joke with him. I tell him, "I think we might be the only ones over 40—we're going to have our own category." So I think the Olympics is about stories. Maybe this gives someone hope. Maybe someone from a small country will say, "You know what, if Sebastián did it, I can do it."