Winter Olympians from not-so-wintry nations
Here is a list of countries and protectorates, according to a detailed breakdown on Wikipedia, that have been represented in the Winter Olympics three or fewer times: Albania, Algeria, American Samoa, British Virgin Islands, Cameroon, Cayman Islands, Colombia, Egypt, Ethiopia, Fiji, Ghana, Guam, Guatemala, Honduras, Hong Kong, Kenya, Madagascar, Nepal, Netherlands Antilles, Pakistan, Peru, Philippines, Swaziland, Tajikistan, Thailand, Trinidad and Tobago, Uruguay and Venezuela. They don't have much in common, other than not exactly being havens of winter.
Some are just fascinating. Take the Caribbean, for instance. In 2010, the Cayman Islands were represented by an alpine skier. It doesn't sound quite right, but the back story is actually pretty interesting. Same for the athletes who this year are representing the U.S. Virgin Islands, which is back in the Winter Games after missing out on 2006 in Turin and 2010 in Vancouver.
As a journalist who admittedly in all likelihood will never grace an Olympics in their craft, these are the types of stories that jump off the page from a distance. If your country is moderate or tropical, but the sport is not, chances are there's a great tale to tell.
Here's to hoping we'll get to hear a few of those stories from Sochi next month.
- Chris Lillstrung | @CLillstrungNH