BUENOS AIRES, Argentina -- For Cameron Maramenides, his journey to the Youth Olympic Games has been going on for nearly 15 years. He started kiteboarding before most tots have managed to ride a bike.
“I started kiting when I was 18 months old on my father’s back. It probably wasn’t the smartest idea, and my mom wasn’t too happy about it,” Maramenides said. “But my dad was probably one of the best kiters in the world at the time, and he’s been with me throughout my whole journey with kitesurfing.”
Maramenides was in for another long journey in the men’s IKA TwinTip event. Weather concerns condensed the 12-race and final format down to six and a final. The medal event was also moved from Saturday to Sunday due to lack of wind.
Maramenides entered the final day of competition sitting in second place, and knowing that anything could happen.
“We have a medal race which is four guys in a final, and we go and it’s winner take all basically, so we’ll see.”
But in the tight race, Maramenides slipped into fourth place in the final heat, and ended the competition one place shy of the podium.
For Maramenides, it was only fitting that the same person who introduced him to kiteboarding was there to see him compete on the Youth Olympic stage.
“My family is here, and it’s so cool to have them around. I’m so happy to have such a good team behind me in everything that I do.”
In the sailing venue, it’s evident that the athletes have a bond forged by traveling to the same destinations together, competing in a sport that is outside of mainstream media attention and finding ways to pass the time while the weather improves. During Saturday’s delay at the venue, Maramenides joined his competitors-turned-friends as they practiced their circus skill with a diabolo, which is a juggling or circus prop consisting of an axle and two cups that is spun and tossed by a string attached to two sticks.
“The whole Olympic experience has been something incredible,” Maramenides said. “All different countries, all different nationalities of people coming together in the same community. There communicating in different ways, and there is just a great energy here and it’s a lot of fun.”