Venezuelan banker unfazed by crash

Wed Feb 19, 2014 11:32am EST
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By Alan Baldwin

ROSA KHUTOR, Russia (Reuters) - Venezuelan Olympic Alpine skier Antonio Jose Pardo Andretta is a banker and former stockbroker who says he just wants to make people happy.

The 43-year-old's Swiss wife thinks he is insane, but for entirely different reasons.

Both agree he will never be mistaken for compatriot Pastor Maldonado, the Formula One driver who actually wins races.

On Wednesday, Pardo Andretta wrote himself into his country's Olympic history when he left the giant slalom start hut to become Venezuela's first Alpine skier to compete at a Winter Games.

The moment of glory was shortlived.

Starting 109th in a field of 109, he soon shed a ski and took a headlong dive into the snow - adopting what can only be described as a snowplough position before beating the piste with his poles in frustration.

"It was not my fault," he told Reuters later. "One of the skis just fell off. If it was my fault, well...nothing I can do. But something that really doesn't belong to me is kind of upsetting.

"But I feel happy. If I did my best performance I would not have won anyway.   Continued...