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Jamaican skier ready for final push
Keisha Hill, Staff Reporter
Jamaican skier Errol Kerr who is in the process of preparing to represent Jamaica at next year's Winter Olympics in Vancouver, Canada, is currently in the island to garner more support for his historic journey.
Should the 23-year-old qualify for the Winter Olympics, he will participate in the ski-cross event. His training has intensified and will continue over the next few months leading up to the event next February.
Kerr who is currently in his off-season said the highlight during the on-season was placing 10th in the World Championships. He said competing with the best skiers in the world helped to put Jamaica on the map in the skiing world.
"If the Olympics were tomorrow, we would have qualified based on the results from last season. We have several more races going into the Olympics. So as long as I stay healthy, we will be there," Kerr said.
The aspiring Olympian said he had speed to compete with the other competitors and just needed more experience under his belt to show everyone what he could do.
"I started skiing competitively at age 12. Once you start ski-racing the Olympics is the pinnacle of the sport. That's where I have always dreamed of going to. Once I started skiing seriously, I knew that I wanted to ski for Jamaica," Kerr said.
When Kerr whose father is Jamaican, left the United States team he was ranked second and could have continued to ski for them. However, he said his mother fell in love with Jamaica and he wanted to continue in his Jamaican heritage.
Coach Eric Holmer said people have asked them many times what will Kerr and the team do for Jamaica. In his response, he tells them that it will be similar to what the Bobsled team did for Jamaica in 1988.
"It pulled in a whole new market for the Winter Olympics," Holmer said. He added that Kerr is one of the main competitors in the ski cross and will get a lot of publicity not just for the novelty of Jamaica competing in the event, but for the fact that he is so good.
According to Holmer, skiing is a very powerful athletic sport and it is imperative that Kerr be really strong and quick.
"On an average day, he will ski 12-15 runs with each run being about three minutes. It's every different sport coming together to add balance and agility," he said.
He added that skiing is more of a head game that includes a lot of mental toughness. "That's why our training off-season is a variety of different sports. We play soccer, tennis, in the gym lifting, motor cross and anything that will improve his overall fitness and explosive power," Holmer said.
In the off-season training I stay fit," Kerr said. "We work in the gym that includes explosive running and jumping to build quickness, balance and power. Some of the training is similar to what Usain Bolt does. We work out the same way for power," he said.
There will be several more competitions before the grand finale in February. These competitions will include the qualifying rounds with about 80-100 skiers from each country. Each country is allowed a maximum of four spots during the qualifying round.
Four sections complete the next rounds with 32 skiers going off in round one and the top 16 moving to the second round. The top eight from the second round will qualify for the third round in which four competitors move on to the final round.
Kerr believes his chances are good not just in qualifying but making it through the rounds.
"In a lot of the recent World Cup competitions, I qualified second many times and these are some of the same people I will be racing with in Vancouver," he said.
The SkiChannel which also made the trip to Jamaica is also filming his exploits. During his stay, they will capture his Jamaican background as well as document his attempts to garner support to complete his journey.
For further information on the alpine exploits of the young Jamaican visit: www.errolkerr.com or to view the docu-drama visit theskichannel.com.