In 2010, cross-country skier Roberto Carcelen made history as Peru's first Winter Olympian ... and finished 94th. So a substantial improvement in Sochi seemed possible, at least until Carcelen suffered broken and bruised ribs in a training crash only days before the Games.
But Carcelen vowed to compete in Friday's classic 15-kilometer race all the same, and wound up coming in dead last among all skiers who finished, nearly 11 minues behind the next-to-last finisher, 86th-place Dachhiri Sherpa of Nepal.
But Carcelen got his proverbial Olympic moment all the same. After picking up a Peruvian flag and waving it as the Russian crowd cheered him across the line, Carcelen found both Sherpa and another co-competitor waiting to congratulate him: no less than the race's winner, now two-time Sochi gold medalist Dario Cologna of Switzerland. Cologna had finished his race nearly half an hour earlier, but was still on hand -- uniform and all -- to shake Carcelen's hand.
Via USA Today Sports, here's Carcelen receiving a hug from Sherpa:
It was a nice moment for the Seattle-based Carcelen, and maybe for Peru as well, after an apparent rift developed between Carcelen and his two Peruvian teammates, German-born alpine skiers Manfred and Ornella Oettl Reyes. Carcelen -- the nation's flag-bearer -- and the siblings have offered differing accounts of why the Reyeses did not wear the appointed Peruvian uniform during the Opening Ceremonies, Peru This Week reported.