Gary di Silvestri and Angelica Morrone de Silvestri boast two claims to fames at the Sochi games: they’re the two oldest Olympians, and they’re also the first husband-wife pair to compete in the same event: cross-country skiing. Though Gary, 47, is from Staten Island and Angelica, 48, Italy, they’re both representing Dominica this year.
This all came about when the duo were visiting the small Caribbean nation six or seven years ago. As a thanks for the charitable work they did there, Dominica offered them both citizenship. A few years later, in November 2012, the International Olympic Committee asked Dominica if it had any athletes it planned to send to the Winter Olympics in Sochi. As a tiny nation with about 70,000 residents and a tropical climate, options were scarce.
But then Dominica officials remembered the di Silvestris — and their passion for cross-country skiing.
“They knew us, called us and said, ‘Guys, we want you to represent Dominica if you think you can qualify,'” di Silvestri told NBC. “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.”
The qualifying process was not easy, but the husband-wife duo made it. And now, they’ve made their way to Sochi, ready to compete.