Yes… I know… many people say Blacks don’t like the cold! maybe we don’t like the cold, but we still have our indomitable competitive spirit in the cold. This week, I have decided to talk about the few Blacks who have been representing the indomitable strength of our race at the Winter Olympics in Vancouver.
What best way than to start with Shani Davis, an olympian from Chicago, IL. Shani Davis is a proud member of the American speed skating team, and competes in both long and short track speed skating. At the 2006 Winter Olympics in Turin, Davis became the first Black athlete to ever win an individual gold medal at the winter games. This year in Vancouver, Davis became the first man to ever win back-to-back gold medal in the 1000 m speed skating event. He also won the silver medal in the 1500m event. His story is truly exceptional, and tells of hard work in a sport where very few Blacks have ever competed.
Vancouver also allowed us to meet Robin Szolkowy of Germany, whose father is from Tanzania and mother from Germany. Szolkowy is a German pair skater, who skated with partner Aliona Savchenko to win the Bronze medal at the Olympics this year.
Two members of the British Bobsleigh team are Henry Nwume and Lascelles Brown. A proud member of the female bobsleigh Canadian team is Shelley-Ann Brown; One of our brothers, Jarome Iginla, is also part of the Canadian ice-hockey team, which will probably take gold this year. Sister Nkeiruka Ezekh is a Russian Federation curling athlete.
Our hats are raised to Ethiopian cross-country skier Robel Teklemariam, Ghanaian Alpine skier Kwame Nkrumah-Acheampong also known as the “snow leopard”, Jamaican freestyle skier Errol Kerr, Senegalese alpine skier Leyti Seck, and Algerian cross-country skier Meidhi-Selim Khelifi who have proudly represented the continent, and our entire race this year by participating for the first time at the Winter olympics.
To find out more about Black presence at the Winter olympics, feel free to read this really good article published by The Root and entitled Soul on ice. This article shows pictures of brothers and sisters, pioneers at the Winter Olympics, such as Debi Thomas, Surya Bonaly, Vonetta Flowers, Randy Jones, Garrett Hines, and few others.