Two athletes from Bolivia competed in the Beijing 2022 Winter Olympics held from Feb 4 to 20.
Simon Breitfuss Kammerlander, a 29-year-old Bolivian skier, took part in the men's downhill and men's super-G events, and ranked 34th in the men's downhill event.
Kammerlander said he enjoyed his time at the Beijing Winter Olympics. "Volunteers gave me a gift box with Chinese Spring Festival gifts and decorations, and I also celebrated Chinese New Year."
Kammerlander was very excited, as it was his first time traveling to China. "Everyone was very friendly and tried their best to help me. The winter Olympic village and venue facilities are great, and the organizers and volunteers of the event have made great efforts."
Bolivian athlete Timo Juhani Gronlund competed in the men's 15-km cross-country skiing (traditional technique) race. Although he placed low, he completed the event and said he achieved his pre-race goal.
The western part of Bolivia is located in a subtropical zone. With the Andes Mountains running through the country, it has the natural conditions to do ice and snow sports.
"In the past, there were many ice and snow sports enthusiasts in Bolivia, but due to a lack of funds, equipment, and coaches, it was difficult to carry out professional training," said Marco Antonio Arze Mendoza, president of the Bolivian Olympic Committee and a participant in the Beijing Winter Olympics.
Thanks to China's sports technical assistance program for Bolivia, in November 2021, several Bolivian coaches and athletes went to the Yabuli sports training base in Northeast China’s Heilongjiang province for training.
Among the Bolivian trainees in Yabuli was a 26-year-old rolling skater, who had fully mastered cross-country skiing skills through the training.
"My athletic ability and physical fitness are improving in an all-around way, and I hope I can represent Bolivia in the Winter Olympics as an athlete or coach in the future," he said.
"I'm glad to see more Bolivian coaches and athletes come to China to participate in ice and snow sports training. In the future, Bolivia will also have a cross-country skiing team to compete in the international arena," Gronlund said.