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How athletes of Jamaican descent can represent Jamaica in the Olympics

How Jamaican descent Athlete Represent Jamaica in the Olympics

I am Catherine Kerr, the mother of Jamaican Olympic skier Errol Kerr. Errol represented Jamaica in the 2010 Vancouver Winter Olympics, finishing 9th in skiercross.  I am an American, and Errol’s father is Jamaican. Many of you may be asking how can your child of Jamaican descent represent Jamaica in the Olympics. Here is a quick guide detailing my journey on getting Errol to represent Jamaica as an Olympic skier.

1. Acquire Proof of Citizenship. Apply for Jamaican Passport.

The first step in the process is acquire the citizenship papers and passport.  If there is one parent who is a Jamaican citizen, then the offspring are eligible for “citizenship by descent”.  Applications for citizenship are available at The Passport, Immigration and Citizenship Agency.

2. Locate the governing body in Jamaica for the sport of choice, and become member

  • The highest governing body for skiing is the International Ski Federation. The Jamaica Ski Federation was founded by Richard Salm, and is a member of the International Ski Federation.
  • Continue to update status of skiing competition results (or your relevant sport) to the national federation.

 3. Work with the national federation and other entities in Jamaica for support.

  • Communicate with the Ministry of Culture, Gender, Entertainment and Sport.
  • Arrange interviews with Jamaican news agencies: newspaper, television, radio
  • Solicit financial support in Jamaica and overseas
  • Schedule trips to Jamaica to meet with supporters and news media

 4. The Jamaica Olympic Committee is contacted by the national federation

The national federation contacts the Jamaica Olympic Committee and states that the athlete may qualify for the Winter Olympic Games. The entry to the Olympic Games is done solely by the Jamaica Olympic Association.  FIS (International Ski Federation – the world’s highest governing body for international winter sports) will confirm to the International Olympic Committee that the athlete satisfies all the performance eligibility standards.

5. Research The Qualifying process

To be ranked in the top 32 in the world is necessary for qualifying for Olympic Ski Cross.  For other winter ski sports, the qualifying process is not quite so rigorous.  For example, in Alpine skiing, the competitor need only to have points below 140 for “B” standard, or be ranked in the top 500 in the world for “A” standard.

Though one may assume or suppose that the athlete will qualify due to results and rankings, the final list of qualifying athletes is published only one month before the Olympics.

Be sure to check out the Jamaican Ski Team

About the author

Catherine Kerr