Roberto Carcelen is a Peruvian-American athlete who became the first Peruvian to compete in a Winter Olympic games. Carcelen competed as a cross-country skier in the 2010 Vancouver Olympic games and in the 2014 games at Sochi, Russia.
In 2006, a friend of Carcelen’s noticed his natural talent in the snow and suggested that he begin competing. After a few months of training Carcelen had qualified to represent his home country of Peru in the 2010 Winter Olympic Games held in Vancouver, B.C.
After Vancouver, Carcelen returned to Peru to celebrate Peru’s first appearance in a winter Olympic event. He quickly realized that his journey as an Olympic athlete was not about winning medals or self preservation but rather about the country that he called home and how he could use his new found success to help his countrymen. Returning to Seattle as an athletic celebrity, Carcelen began working on what would become his true life’s work. Carcelen knew that with his newly found popularity could be used to make a difference and he began laying the groundwork for what would one day become the Roberto Carcelen Foundation. In his heart, he knew that the task of creating a foundation to help the people of Peru would be a far more important task then competing in the top tier of athletic competition.
In 2013, Carcelen decided that he would compete as a cross-country skier one more time. He began training and qualified to once again represent his country in the 20014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia.
Just prior to Sochi, while training for the games Carcelen was involved in a training accident in Innsbruck, Austria. Suffering from broken ribs and muscle injuries, Carcelen was advised by medical professionals to discontinue his involvement in the Sochi games. Knowing that if he quit that his country would not be represented, Carcelen against his doctor’s wishes decided to race.
On Dec 14th, 2014 Enduring extreme pain and discomfort Roberto Carcelen raced in the Men’s 15km cross country race. Due to his injuries, Carcelen quickly fell behind and eventfully fell into last place. 30 minutes after the second to last skier crossed the finish line; Carcelen was in view of the finish line. Looking into the crowd of Olympic fans, Carcelen spotted an onlooker cheering him on and waving the flag of Peru. With pained movements only a few feet from the finish line, Carcelen made his way to the onlooker who handed him the flag. As Carcelen made his way to the last few feet to complete the race the cheers of the attendees moved him as he raised the Peruvian flag in the air.
After the 2014 Winter Olympics, Carcelen started the Roberto Carcelen Foundation (RCF). RCF focuses on providing Latin American children opportunities by funding programs on computer science education, English language and as well as programs that promote Olympic values through athletics.
Based in New York City, Carcelen works as a technology consultant for Microsoft and continues to work with his foundation.