Yes, I know… you are probably going to say what? Africans? Blacks at the Winter Olympics? Given that most of us, Africans, grew up without any snow, how could we possibly compete at the Winter olympics? Well, I wanted to have you give a shout out to some of our sisters from Togo at Sochi 2014 : Alessia Afi Dipol competing in alpine skiiing (born and raised in Italy, check out Alessia’s website to learn more), and Mathilde Amivi Petit Jean competing in cross country skiing (she represented France at the Junior level, before switching to compete for Togo in 2013). Mathilde said “If I was told I would one day compete at the Olympic Games, I would never have believed it would be in the colours of Togo.” Representing another African country is Luke Steyn from Zimbabwe in Alpine skiing. Sadly, this year, there will be no snow leopard from Ghana: Kwame Nkrumah-Acheampong to cheer us.
Other athletes of African ancestry from the Carribbeans to watch will be Bermuda Tucker Murphy in cross-country skiing, and Jamaica‘s Wayne Blackwood, Marvin Dixon, and Winston Watts in Bobsleigh.
Now, the big one to look out for will be American super star (or at least mine) Shani Davis who wowed us in Turin 2006, and Vancouver 2010. I have been waiting for him for the past 4 years, and really look forward to seeing him speed skate to gold in Sochi making him the first male speed skater to win gold at three (3) consecutive winter olympics.
The American women’s bobsleigh team features six athletes and five of them are African-American. For the first time in women’s bobsled history, the teams will feature black women in the front, piloting. Watch out for Elana Meyers, Jazmine Fenlator, Aja Evans, Lauryn Williams with the biggest olympic pedigree of the 5, and of course the ever famous Lolo Jones.
Another athlete to watch out for will be 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 Vancouver Olympics in 2010. Canadian Bobsleigh Lascelles Brown will also be present this year. Sister Nkeiruka Ezekh, is a Russian Federation curling athlete which has participated at all olympics since Salt Lake 2002. Just raise your hat to all these brothers and sisters proudly representing the continent, and other countries. There are probably more athletes of African ancestry at Sochi 2014, and if you find any… just share with me as well.