Faisal Faisal’s bid to be 1st Iraqi Winter Olympic Athlete

John Kekis of the AP:

FaisalLAKE PLACID, N.Y. — Faisal Ghazi Faisal’s Olympic dream lives on, and it’s no pipe dream anymore. After less than three weeks of training in the sport of skeleton, Faisal slid a little bit closer to his quest to become the first Iraqi athlete to compete in the Winter Games, finishing 32nd out of 37 competitors Saturday in an America’s Cup race on the Olympic track at Mount Van Hoevenberg.

His beaming smile afterward seemed warm enough to melt the icy ground where he stood as several competitors took turns giving him hugs.

“I broke the minute!” Faisal shouted, jumping up and down, an Iraqi flag draped around his neck. “I only broke that once, and I wasn’t on the sled at the finish. I didn’t expect to do it. It’s a great accomplishment.”

More about Faisal Faisal at his rather cute website here.  [Thanks to Stefany Ann Golberg.]