I just read this article in the NYT and I think its a great story. It's about Roberto Carcelen, a Peruvian national living in Seattle, that wants to qualify for the upcoming winter Olympics in cross-country skiing. Not only that, but he is 38 and just started skiing 3 years ago! Obviously he will have no shot of actually winning a medal once there - but I think just the effort to get there and the experience once there would be invaluable.
The reason I find this fascinating is that ~4 years ago (also when i had just moved to Seattle) I thought seriously about trying to make it into the Olympics somehow. I call it the "back door": not being a world-class athlete, you have to be from a country that is not particularly good at a sport that you also happen to be good at - and then try to make it in. Many have done this over the years - Eric Moussambani and Mexico's Prince Hubertus von Hohenlohe (this guy is quite a character) are good examples. Some people think doing this detracts from the Olympic spirit somehow, but I completely disagree. As long as you play by the rules, why not try to make it in?
In my case my dream was to make it into the table tennis competition representing Mexico (not to take anything away from Mexican table tennis players - but we clearly are not known as a world table tennis power). I've played a fair amount and got to be reasonably good a few years ago. Not even close to real Olympic material, but perhaps close enough to place in the Latin American qualifier. Unfortunately, I didn't get around to seriously undertaking the necessary training. But it's always bothered me that I didn't even try. Perhaps this is the year to seriously start playing again and give the back door a shot for the 2012 Olympics...
In any case, best of luck to Roberto Carcelen. I hope he makes it into Vancouver and has a blast.