E. Timor's 1st Winter Olympian finishes slalom run
With support from prime minister, East Timor's Yohan Goncalves Goutt races in Olympic slalom
Associated Press
2014-02-22 11:42 PM

KRASNAYA POLYANA, Russia (AP) -- The crowd roared with support when East Timor's first Winter Olympian completed his opening run in the slalom.

Never mind that Yohan Goncalves Goutt placed 77th out of the 77 skiers who reached the finish on Saturday, more than 20 seconds behind leader Mario Matt of Austria.

"It was very, very hard to ski -- not at all my level -- but I really wanted to come down this run," Goncalves Goutt said. "It's not my best skiing, but I'm really happy that people are applauding and watching me. It's important for the Timorese."

Shortly before his run, Goncalves Goutt received a message of support from the country's prime minister.

"I was really happy to see that everybody, even the government, is supporting me," Goncalves Goutt said. "They wished me luck and I think their luck really blessed me tonight."

The 19-year-old Goncalves Goutt was born in Paris to a French father and a Timorese mother. He founded East Timor's ski federation.

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