While the Virgin Islands may not be known for producing Olympic skiers, one Whitman student is an exception to the trend. Junior Jazz Campbell, a member of the club ski team at Whitman, recently qualified to represent the Virgin Islands in the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia.
Campbell was born and raised in the Virgin Islands until she and her parents moved to Sun Valley, Idaho when she was 10. Once she moved to Sun Valley, her love for skiing began to grow under her father’s tutelage.
“When I started skiing it was fun because you got to go so fast … As I got older, I became more serious about it and began to commit to it,” said Campbell.
In some aspects, Campbell felt like she had little choice but to follow the path that her father blazed when he, too, skied for the Virgin Islands in the Olympics. Until she came to Whitman, skiing had become more of a job than the enjoyable activity she had fallen in love with.
Since arriving at Whitman, however, her love for skiing has been revitalized and she cannot wait to use her dual citizenship to compete for the country she was born in.
“I still feel very much a part of the Virgin Islands. When I first came to the U.S., I wanted to go back to the Caribbean immediately because it was such a culture shock for me. I love that culture and that energy, so I’m looking forward to getting the chance to represent it properly,” explained Campbell.
Campbell is already qualified to race in the giant slalom, and she is currently working on qualifying for slalom as well. Because representing the Virgin Islands in skiing is an odd occurrence in and of itself, Campbell’s road to the Olympics has been one that undoubtedly differs from the normal experience for most Olympians.
“I am basically qualifying on my own. The President of the Virgin Island Olympic committee has helped me out by getting me into races. According to everything he has told me to do, I am on track right now,” said Campbell.
Going at speeds that can reach as fast as 70 miles per hour scares most people, but not Campbell. She embraces the risky yet invigorating nature that downhill skiing represents.
Most importantly, she manages to maintain a relaxed approach to the event, when many athletes let it define their lives. When asked about the location of the Olympics, Campbell revealed her true motivation of wanting to go to Sochi, Russia.
“I am mostly going for the hats,” said Campbell.