Monday, February 19, 2018

The Couscous Rocket - Samir Azzimani's Olympic Result

Samir Azzimani, the "couscous rocket", realised his dream while fulfilling his sporting goals. At the Alpensia resort he crossed the finish line of the 15 km cross-country skiing in a modest 111th place, more than 13 minutes behind the winner

Samir managed to complete a race in this most demanding sporting discipline at the age of forty and was then involved in what has been a defining image of this year's Winter Olympics.

Mexico’s German Madrazo was heroically skiing in last place to the line, proudly brandishing the flag of his country and smiling jubilantly. After crossing the finish after 15 kilometres of gruelling freestyle cross-country racing on Friday, he was lifted high into the air and onto the shoulders of Tonga’s Pita Taufatofua, who finished 114th, and Samir Azzimani, for whom just getting to the end was an achievement in itself.

The 43-year-old Madrazo came 116th out of the 116 who made it home, fully 25 minutes 51.5 seconds behind the winner Dario Cologna of Switzerland.

Tonga's Pita Taufatofua (L) and Samir Azzimani (R) lift Mexico's Madrazo onto their shoulders at the finish line

Azzimani made history by becoming the Arab world’s first dual-sport Olympian after competing in the alpine skiing event at the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver. In addition to his desire not to finish last, in reality, his main goal was to represent Morocco at the Winter Olympics for the second time in his career, after those of Vancouver, in 2010, in which he finished 44th in slalom and 74th in giant slalom.

At the end of last November, he was forced, with a pair of skis on wheels, to cross Morocco from north to south in five weeks. At the price of unimaginable suffering, those 1700 km forged attitude to long races.


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