Utah man goes from Olympian to advocate for country of Colombia

Feb 15, 2022, 5:23 PM | Updated: Jun 13, 2022, 4:33 pm

SALT LAKE CITY — Dozens of Utah athletes are representing Team USA at the 2022 Winter Olympics in Beijing, but we also have a lot of International athletes competing as well.

KSL’s Alex Cabrero spoke with a Utah man who is helping his home country produce even more Olympians.

WATCH: Utah man helps build Colombian Olympians

Sebastian Uprimny competed in the 2018 PyeongChang Olympics as a cross-country skier for his home country of Colombia, but he has lived in Utah for more than a decade, running a successful translation – interpretation business.    

Colombia isn’t well known for its winter athletes, but with Utah’s help, maybe one day, it will.

There’s a lot of yelling skeleton, but for as fast as sliding sports are, Sebastian Uprimny knows he has to be patient.

“That’s something new for me that I wasn’t expecting, but it’s really fun,” he said.

Competing for Colombia in the 2018 Olympic Games was a dream come true for Uprimny.

“As you know, it was my last shot,” he said. “I was kind of active in the older age trying to qualify, and I made it and it was super exciting.”

Now, though, his dream is even bigger.

He and Olympic committee members from Colombia used that moment to get Colombians interested in the Winter Olympics.

Since Uprimny lives in Utah, it’s the perfect place to help train Colombians in those sports, and build a winter team from the bottom up.

“Now, we have some, some opportunities for Colombia as a country, but it’s in our plan that we have for 2026 is to get a bobsled team, where the brakeman will come from track and field, from weightlifting in Colombia,” Uprimny said.

Uprimny has become kind of Colombia’s winter sports team captain.

He was helping Colombian skeleton athlete Laura Vargas in Park City just before the Olympics, and although she just barely missed qualifying for Beijing, she’s excited about Colombia’s future in Winter Sports.

“We’re recruiting all the time,” Uprimny said. “We’ve got speedskaters now, downhill skiers, snowboarders. We’re just growing, like, we have a new athlete pretty much every year. So, it’s amazing.”

That’s where the patience comes in — it takes time to get Olympic-level good, especially for an entire country.

For Uprimny, though, his transition from athlete to advocate is a challenge he’s enjoying almost more than competing himself.

“Maybe more fun than I get to go to everywhere, but I don’t have to train that much” he said laughing.

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Utah man goes from Olympian to advocate for country of Colombia