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William Flaherty culminates Puerto Rican participation in the Winter Olympics

William Flaherty completed a run that many others could not. (Photo Courtesy of Olympics)

This story was complied from both and


He finished 44th in downhill skiing slalom, an event in which 88 skiers started and only 45 completed their two heats.

Seventeen year old Skier William Flaherty ended this Wednesday morning Puerto Rico’s participation in the Beijing 2022 Winter Olympics, finishing in 44th position in the alpine skiing slalom contest.

For Flaherty it was his second event at these Games, as he had been active all weekend in the giant slalom.

The young man, as reported in a press release by the Puerto Rico Olympic Committee (Copur), finished this Wednesday in 44th position out of 45 skiers who completed the competition, with a total time in the two heats of 2:12.43.

A total of 88 competitors participated in this test, of which 43 did not complete their course.

Flaherty made his debut in the giant slalom event last weekend, overcoming inclement weather and withstanding the challenges of a snowfall. In fact, in that test, more than half of the skiers could not complete the course either. Of 89 who signed up, 49 did not finish.

Only 40 competitors completed the two heats. Flaherty was the last of them, but managed to finish the event with a total time of 2:41.42 (1:20.16 and 1:21.26 in his two descents), 32.07 seconds behind the gold medal winner, Swiss Marco Odermatt, who he clocked 2:09.35 (1:02.93 and 1:06.42).

William is the younger brother of Charles Flaherty, who competed at PyeongChang 2018, also for Puerto Rico. William was diagnosed with hemophagocytic lymphohistiocytosis when he was three years old and thanks to a bone marrow transplant from his older brother, he was able to overcome the deadly disease.

This is the seventh participation of Puerto Rico in the Winter Olympics and the second in a row after Charles Flaherty, William’s brother, attended PyeongChang 2018.

The fact that William is at the Olympics at all is a miracle.

Williams was three years old when he required a bone marrow transplant.  His mother Ann said that, from a scale of one to 10 – one being “healthy and great” and 10 being “he’s dead” – doctors gave a score of 9.5 for William.
“Skiing for me is almost a stress relief,” William said earlier this year. “My decision to keep going through all the medical side effects … how many people can say they’ve had the opportunity to go to the Olympics?”
William will require another operation in the coming months, with his health problems resurfacing after he had a tumor removed from his face, but in the challenges to come the teenage can call himself an Olympian – an athlete who overcame the odds to fulfill a dream.
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