Africa at the South Korea Winter Olympics 2018

Pyeongchang 2018We have evolved since the days of the 2010 Vancouver and 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics. The African and Black presences at the 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Olympics has more than quadrupled: 8 African countries are represented at these Olympics with a total of 13 athletesNigeria is featuring its First Bobsleigh Team ever, and it is all female! We also note that the Togolese athletes Alessia Afi Dipol, and  Mathilde Amivi Petit Jean have come back from 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics to compete at the PyeongChang 2018 Olympics; we applaud their endurance. I guess some of our brothers and sisters have lived in Northern countries, and enjoy these winter sports to the point of competing in them. We raise our hats to them. Below are the African athletes to watch for, and cheer for this year.


EritreaShannon Adeba – Alpine skiing

GhanaAkwasi Frimpong – Skeleton

KenyaSabrina Simader – Alpine skiing

MadagascarMialitiana Clerc – Alpine skiing

MoroccoAdam Lamhamedi – Alpine skiing

                   Samir Azzimani – Cross-country skiing

NigeriaAkuoma Omeoga – Bobsleigh

                Moriam Seun Adigun – Bobsleigh

                Ngozi Onwumere – Bobsleigh

                Simidele Adeagbo – Skeleton

South AfricaConnor Wilson – Alpine skiing

TogoAlessia Afi Dipol – Alpine skiing

           Mathilde-Amivi Petit Jean – Cross-country skiing

There are more brothers and sisters of African descent competing at these Olympics as well: 7 from the United States (with the multiple champion Shani Davis who has been a joy to watch in speed skating since the 2006 Turin Olympics), 4 from France (including 2 in figure skating), 3 from Brazil (all in bobsleigh),  5 from Canada (all in bobsleigh), 3 from Jamaica (with Jamaica first female bobsleigh team ever) and 5 from Great Britain (all in bobsleigh). I may have missed some, and if you see one I did not account for, let me know. We raise our hats to those athletes proudly representing their nations, and cheer them to victory!

Black presence at the Winter Olympics

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. 

Shani Davis
Shani Davis

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. 

Robin Szolkowy & Aliona Savchenko
Robin Szolkowy & Aliona Savchenko

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. 

Kwame Nkrumah-Acheampong

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.