Macau-born athlete will be going to the Olympics in Pyeongchang, which open today, representing Portugal in cross-country skiing.
Kequyen Lam, an Okanagan pharmacist, is one of the two athletes Portugal is sending to the 2018 Winter Games. His dream has been to make the Olympics for two decades, and he will be given the honour of carrying the flag into the opening ceremony.
“It’s going to be tough. It is going to be the toughest thing that we’ve done on skis and I think that is going to be the fun part,” Lam said, as cited in Canadian news outlet Global News.
Lam was born in the region during the Portuguese administration time and moved to Canada as an infant, thus holding both Canadian and Portuguese citizenship. Lam’s parents were refugees from Vietnam.
“My parents had fled Vietnam because of the war and there was no future there. So they jumped on a boat. [After] a month-long voyage in a rickety boat, they made it to Macau and they lived in a refugee camp,” Lam explained.
The athlete shared that he was inspired to pursue the Olympics after watching the 1998 Nagano games where Ross Rebagliati, a Canadian snowboarder, won gold.
Lam first chased Olympic glory in cross-country snowboarding but was injured in 2013. After his recovery, he changed sports and pursued cross-country skiing. He competed in his first cross country skiing competitive race just over two years ago.
“I basically travelled the world in the last year just… training hard and chasing points. When you are determined and you know there is something that you want and you go after it, you’ll get it.”
“I’m not doing anything really special. I’m someone who has a passion and I’ve realized a dream,” he added. “I hope that other people can see that. If it inspires one kid to pick up a sport and to pursue their dreams, then that’s more than enough.”
Lam also hopes to create “new Olympic moments for the next generation and raise the profile of his sport.” LV