Gary di Silvestri, a 46-year-old originally from Staten Island, N.Y., and his wife, Angelica Morrone di Silvestri, 48, born and raised in Italy, will represent Dominica at the games from February 7-27 in Sochi, Russia.
They will compete on back-to-back days in the women’s 10km cross-country race on February 13 followed by the men’s 15km on February 14.
“It will be an historic (moment),” NBC sports website quoted Secretary General of the Dominica Olympic Committee Thomas Dorsett as saying.
“Our tourism department will make a field day of that.”
Dorsett however is still awaiting accreditation from the organizers and has told Dominica News online that the DOC expects confirmation by Tuesday.
The two first visited Dominica on holiday six or seven years ago and have done philanthropic work there as well as in other Caribbean countries, funding children’s hospitals.
They were granted Dominican citizenship for the charity work they have done, the couple has reported.
In November 2012, the International Olympic Committee asked Dominica, among other nations, if it had any athletes it was considering for the Sochi Olympics.
“They knew us, called us and said, ‘Guys, we want you to represent Dominica if you think you can qualify,” said Di Silvestri, a former Wall Street financial analyst.
“At first we were hesitant, going from a hobby to a full-time commitment. We said, ‘What the hell. It’s an opportunity. We’ll take it.’”
Gary and Angelica, who qualified in December and last week, are finalizing travel arrangements and are confident they will be in Sochi and march in the Opening Ceremony carrying the Dominica flag.