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Cross National Representation in the 2010 Winter Olympics

The Vancouver Games has been a showcase of cross national representation. Many athletes such as ski crosser Chris Del Bosco have had a choice in deciding which country to represent. Although Chris was born March 30, 1982 in Colorado Springs, CO, he skis for Canada. His father is a Canadian citizen which gave him dual citizenship allowing him to ski for either team.

Yuko Kavaguti, a figure skater, is Japanese but skates for Russia. She was born in Aichi, Japan on November 20, 1981 and currently resides in St. Petersburg, Russia. Since 2003, Kavaguti has lived and trained in Russia and was awarded her Russian citizenship in 2009. Unlike Chris she has no family ties to Russia. In fact she has to apply for a visa when she goes home to visit her family. She says that “People who follow sports understand that I’m not a traitor. I still consider myself Japanese. I chose to compete for Russia because I didn’t have a [good] partner in Japan.” Yuko also shared that she has always wanted to compete in the Olympics and did what she needed to fulfill her childhood dream.

Errol Kerr, who is also a ski crosser was born in New York but competes for Jamaica. He trained in California and he qualified ninth among the 33 riders who made their way down Cypress Mountain on Sunday, the culmination of two years of hard work after making the switch from Alpine racing. He is competing for Jamaica to honor his father, Errol Kerr Sr.

Cross country skier Kwame Nkrumah-Acheampong was actually born in Scotland, but moved to Ghana when he was a year old and remained in Africa for the next two decades. “When people notice I’m skiing and I’m African, they’re always surprised,” Nkrumah-Acheampong, 35, who’s known as the Snow Leopard, told the Daily News. “People’s first impression when they see me is, ‘What is he doing here?’ But they get over it when they see me ski.”

Chris, Yuko, Errol and Kwame are examples of how the world is shrinking and how national identity is become more and more relative. No where is this best exemplified then on the Olympic stage as athletes compete for their sport’s most prestigious honor.