Olympic Skier Chemmy Alcott Named After Sophia Loren (Kinda)

British Alpine skier Chimene “Chemmy” Alcott was born in London in 1982. She told the story of her unusual first name to The Independent back in 2006. Here’s what she said:

My mother is tall with long dark hair, green eyes, very chiselled features, and everyone used to say that she looked like Sophia Loren. So she thought that maybe her daughter would, too, and I was named Chimene after the character Sophia Loren played in El Cid. That’s where it goes wrong. I’m blonde, kind of a bit on the rounder side, and I have blue eyes. I look nothing like Sophia Loren. But I like my name. I call myself Chemmy because people have trouble with Chimene, but maybe later in life it will, like, suit me more. I feel sorry for my mother. She used to teach at Lucy Clayton’s finishing school, and thought she’d have this girly girl. Instead, she gets a ski-racing adrenalin junkie.

(The ch in Chimene and Chemmy is pronounced like an sh, as in Charlotte.)

Chemmy is currently competing at the Winter Games in Vancouver. I believe she has one or two more events to go, so you might still be able to catch her on TV.

Source: Countdown to the Winter Olympics


2 thoughts on “Olympic Skier Chemmy Alcott Named After Sophia Loren (Kinda)

  1. Chemmy’s mother may have heard “Chimene,” but the Sophia Loren character in El Cid–the movie and the original poem–is Jimena (sometimes spelled Ximena). In some Spanish dialects the J/X is pronounced “sh,” but it’s usually a guttural consonant like the “ch” in Scottish “loch” or German “ach.”

  2. I believe Chimene (well, Chimène) is the French form of Jimena, so I’m guessing that the parents just decided to use the French form instead of what they heard in the film.

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