Abigail Vieira was making her debut in the world in 2002 the same year Trinidad and Tobago’s three-man bobsleigh team - Gregory Sun, Andrew McNeill and Errol Aguilera - flew the red, white and black at the Winter Olympic Games in Salt Lake City.
Now, Vieira a Massachusetts based ‘Trini to d bone’ is getting ready to create her own piece of sporting history as the first T&T skier at the Lausanne Junior Winter Olympics in January 2020 having attained Olympic qualification levels in her first year on the international circuit.
The athlete, a member of the Trinidad and Tobago Snow Sport Federation, was presented to the public at Olympic House, Abercromby Street, Port-of-Spain today.
Vieira is the lone athlete and flag-bearer of a four-person delegation, which also includes Chef De Mission Richard Vieira as well as coaches Lori Ford and Ria Vieira.
She will become the first athlete to represent Team TTO at a Junior Winter Olympics marking only Trinidad and Tobago’s fourth appearance at a Winter Olympic Games.
Vieira will compete in the Slalom, Giant Slalom and Super G events.
In 2019 she set marks of 148.61 in the Slalom, 154.46 in the Giant Slalom and 219.24 in the Super G.
The 17-year-old pioneer was elected 2019-2020 Student President of the Holderness School where she’s a member of Alpine Skiing Eastern/USSA/FIS team and Varsity Football and Lacrosse teams. She has already been accepted to Williams College.
At her unveiling Vieira said, “it’s an honour and a privilege to represent T&T I don’t take it lightly, I want to keep on working hard, pushing myself on the course and every minute I’m out there I’ll be thinking about ways to best represent T&T.
“It’s not just going to be me out there, I feel like it’s everyone back home. I love being from T&T and I love representing that but I also want to show the world my best for Trinidad and Tobago.”
Vieira began skiing at age four after she saw her sister competing and graduated to race skiing at age 8, 13 years later she trains everyday but isn’t burdened by the effort it took to get her to this point.
“I missed a lot of family events but at the same it’s just been a natural progression, for me it’s felt normal along the way and just being able to do something I’ll enjoy and have my family back me up for that it doesn’t feel as detrimental to my personal life as it has been, but by no means will I ever change it for the world.”
“All my coaches have been by me since day one there isn’t one time when I’ve come down the hill and they don’t have some piece of advice some kind of pep talk to give, I’ve never felt once that I’ve been alone in this whole process.”
The Alpine Skiing events begin on January 10th.
Written by Jovan Ravello for https://teamtto.org