Although African athletes are pushing the continent to secure a place in Winter Olympics, it’s not an individual struggle. The continent needs to give more in Winter sports than it’s doing at the moment (more like government support and organization backing). It’s understandable that Africa’s tropical weather condition is the major reason why the continent lags behind in Winter Games.
Despite the Pyeongchang games hosting the largest ever contingent of African nations at a single Winter Olympics event with eight African nations participating, no African athlete achieved a podium finish. For Africans, winning a medal is not just the only win in this Winter Olympic. it’s a win that this is the first Winter Game that saw more than 8 African countries in it.
It’s a win to inspire Africans towards the crucial game that nature denied them the opportunity of excelling in. Creating awareness by participating in Winter Games is another win for Africa. Nigeria, Kenya, South Africa, Eritrea, Morocco, Ghana, Madagascar, and Togo. These countries made the African debuts in the Pyeongchang Olympics 2018.
Kenyan’s first Olympic Alpine Skier — Sabrina Wanjiku Simader finished 38th out of 44 in the women’s super-G in the Pyeongchang Games but the 19-year-old made the record books — as the first Alpine skier from Kenya to compete in a Winter Games.
Ghanaian born Akwasi Frimpong is another African athlete enjoying the love and admiration of many in Pyeongchang, winning legions of fans with his funny seemed-African dance moves and his uniform smile goes with his brightly-colored helmet. Though he wanted to perform for his adopted country Netherlands in the 2012 Olympic game in London, his dream went to flame after abrupt injury.
Nigeria’s popular bobsled team became the first Africans to participate in the sport at the games. In Skeleton, Simidele Adeagbo became the first Nigerian woman to participate.
Mathilde-Amivi Petitjean is the cross-country skier that represented Togo in Pyeongchang. She was born in Togo but competed for France at Sochi. She swapped countries after Togo approached her on Facebook. “It’s not because there is no snow in my country that there shouldn’t be any skiing,” she said.
So far, it’s a great impression by African athletes to push the continent towards adapting the games of Winter Olympic. Nevertheless, countries like Norway, Canada, Germany… are still leading the medal board in Winter Olympic games.