Let’s hear it for Andre Drygin from Tajikistan!
Who? Andrei Drygin is the sole entry as a winter Olympic athlete competitor from his country. This year the contingency swelled one hundred per cent. This year there are two athletes present. Andre is not alone. The second athlete accompanied him for the experience after having failed to qualify.
Andre skied downhill and came in fifty-ninth. Four skiers failed to qualify. There was ten seconds time between the winner of the gold and Andre who was the last on the list just above the other four. Yet he still came to compete. He will be competing in the giant slalom on Feb. 23, the slalom on Feb. 27. He was 44th out of 45 on the men’s super G, and 59th out of 59 on the downhill. In other words, he realistically probably didn’t come to win.
This is the third winter Olympics in which he has competed. He first appeared in the 2002 Olympics where he was the youngest Alpine events participant at age 24. He reappeared in 2006 and once again at 2010.
I admire athletes who continue to compete just for the sake of competing. I admire athletes willing to be held up to some ridicule such as from this journalist who decided he must comment.
Even the games’ signature event, the men’s downhill, has yawnsome patches. Where was the thrill in seeing Johan Clarey of France waddle in 1.98 seconds behind gold medalist Didier Defago? And the 10.13-second gap between Defago and the last finisher, Andrey Drygin of Tajikistan, was an eternity — long enough to head off in search of a hot, spiced-up wine to dull the pain. Imagine the agony that writer must have endured to have to wait 10.13 seconds more to witness the end of Andrey Drygin’s run? The pain of that wait must have been excruciating. In ten seconds I can cross, at an average pace, my entire family room. With those crowds he probably could have gotten two or three feet closer to the spiced wine in that amount of time.
Tajikistan is having many problems. Recently, we learned, supposedly, that there is no global warming going on. We can safely return to our polluting ways. However, if that is indeed the case, one needs to inform the people of Tajikstan. They are losing their main source of water, the glaciers, at a rate of 20 meters a year. The place where Andre comes from is composed of rural poor over half of whom make less than $1.33 a day. Only 7% of the land of Tajikistan is able to be farmed yet seven million people depend on that land for their crops.
I have been unable to locate any more information on this young athlete. I don’t know his story. I don’t know if he is from the rural poor or if his family is wealthy enough to support his efforts. When over half of the inhabitants of this country are making so little money, I don’t know if his government has the funds to send him to the winter Olympics game after game after game.
I don’t know what his motive is to continually come back over the last eight years to compete. I just know that I admire him for doing just that. I admire him for representing his country. He is saying to the world, “I won’t let you forget us. We are here and we will let you know we are here. We have a place in this world and I will continue to remind you of that. So, hats off to Andrei Drygin of Tajikistan. God speed in your next two events. Let the world know you are indeed here.
Namaste. Attic Annie