The 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics begin today and several tropical countries are participating. Liberia won’t be at the 2022 Winter Games, but five other African countries will be present.
This isn’t the first time that African countries have made a winter appearance. In fact, South Africa became the first African nation to compete at the Winter Olympics in 1960. Since then, 15 African countries have attended the Winter Games.
At the last Winter Game in Pyeongchang, South Korea, a record-making eight African countries competed. The continent has never brought home a Winter Olympic medal, but there’s always a possibility that one of the athletes representing one of the five African countries will make history in 2022.
This year, Africans are mainly competing in Alpine skiing and bobsledding. The first event is a ski-race against the clock, down a snow covered slope. The fastest time wins. In bobsledding, another timed event where teams race individually, officials time how fast competitors can race in a sled on a downhill track. Again, the fastest time wins. Check out the African competitors, who will appear at the 2022 Winter Olympics.
Twenty-five-year-old Shannon Abeda will represent the East African nation Eritrea in men’s Alpine skiing. The Canadian-born African skier is the only athlete competing for Eritrea at the 2022 Winter Games.
Carlos Maeder will represent Ghana in the men’s Alpine skiing event. At 43 years-old, Maeder is the oldest Alpine skier to qualify for the 2022 Games. Though he was born in Ghana, the competitor was adopted at eight months and raised in Switzerland.
Two Alpine skiers will represent the island nation Madagascar. Mialitiana Clerc will compete in the women’s event and Mathieu Neumuller will represent for the men. Twenty-year-old Clerc was born in Madagascar and currently lives in France. Her male teammate, 18-year-old Neumuller, was born in France.
Yassine Aouich is the 31-year-old Alpine skier representing Morocco. Though Aouich grew up in Morocco, he currently lives in France. His Olympic profile notes that his childhood home in North-Central Morocco is “known for its Swiss-like village and nearby ski resort of Michlifen.”
Samuel Uduigowme Ikpefan is the 30-year-old cross-country skier representing Nigeria. He was born in France to a Nigerian father and French mother.
Spectators will notice that many of the athletes who are representing Africa this year don’t reside on the continent. In most cases, the African representatives were born in the African nation they chose to compete for, or have at least one parent from there. Because of these facts, some could argue that the true influence of winter sports in Africa is missed; and they would be right to say so. Still, the representation is present and African flags will fly through Beijing 2022.
As for Liberia, the country has never competed in a Winter Olympic, but it has sent an Olympic team to Beijing. In 2008, three track and field athletes represented Team Liberia at the Beijing Summer Olympics. And interesting enough, Beijing is the only city to host both a Winter and Summer Game. Fans can visit the Beijing 2022 website to learn where to watch the Winter Games.