Pura Vida, Skier

American-born skier Andre Hamm aims to rep Costa Rica at PyeongChang Olympics

The 2018 Olympics in PyeongChang, South Korea, may seem far away—but for Olympic-hopefuls, time is imminent.

Andre Hamm is one of these young athletes with a dream, and, as he currently trains in Winter Park, Colorado, for the World Cup qualifiers, his plan to represent Costa Rica in the upcoming Olympics is becoming a reality. “This will be my first year performing in World Cup events,” says Hamm, “…with Slopestyle just getting started in the Olympics, and Costa Rica being such a small country, I think that there’s a lot of viewer opportunity… [a chance] to get the people in Costa Rica something to be proud about.”

A Boulder-born skier with an American father and a Costa Rican mother, Hamm was raised close to his Central American heritage, speaking Spanish at home, taking annual month-long visits to visit family, and eating traditionally prepared food. Taking advantage of his dual-citizenship, Hamm aims to raise the Costa Rican flag at the 2018 Winter Games—a feat that hasn’t occurred in over a decade. The 20-year-old wishes to “bring the Costa Rican spirit to another sport,” in a way reminiscent of the Jamaican bobsledders that brought us Cool Runnings. To make the Olympic team, Hamm will need to qualify via World Cup qualifiers, which start in January and run for the next two years.

It is not uncommon in the Olympics for athletes to represent a country different from where they were born. Gus Kenworthy—America’s golden boy in the Sochi Olymipcs—was born in the UK; Prince Hubertus von Hohenlohe, a descendant of German royalty, was born in Mexico City on a vacation, and represented Mexico as an downhill racer in 2014. So, it isn’t too crazy to think that an American-born athlete might bring pride to his Costa Rican culture as a slopestyle skier in the near future. In this short video, entitled “Skiing in Costa Rica?” by Luke Fraser, Hamm explains the drive behind his lifelong dream.