Reyon Kay looks to make mark at Winter Olympics for NZ

By Moana Makapelu Lee

Reyon Kay is the only Cook Islander competing at the Winter Olympic Games this year. The Olympic debutant looks to make his mark on the world stage in the hopes to inspire others. 

31-year-old Reyon Kay is living his Olympic dreams.

The Utah based skater says, "As soon as I walked up the steps to the middle of the oval it was a little bit surreal but then I just got into my rhythm, got ready for the race but once I was out there it didn't really feel any different to any other event."

"I've had a lot of support from back in the islands which has been really nice,” says Kay. “I’ve had a few people tuning in from over there and voicing their support which has been awesome.”

According to the National Olympic Committee of New Zealand, Kay is the first Cook Islander to their knowledge to represent New Zealand at the Winter Olympic Games. Kay hopes he won't be the last.

"It's a little bit odd coming from a country like New Zealand that can do a sport that doesn't have the facilities and low opportunities to skate on ice, so you can do anything you want. The sky's the limit,” says Kay.

Kay won his first gold for New Zealand in inline speed skating at the 2010 World Champs in Colombia before transitioning to the ice to pursue the Winter Olympics. In 2016 he claimed bronze in the team pursuit at the World Cup in Japan. Speaking from PyeongChang Kay says the experience is overwhelming.

"It's good, sometimes it's a little bit overwhelming but I mean it's awesome to be here at such a big event. To be on the biggest stage is such an honour."

After placing outside the medals for 1500m race, Kay and partner Michael now turn their focus to the team pursuit on Sunday.