Beijing 2022: Africa's winter athletes go for glory
Not many athletes from Africa take part in the Winter Olympic Games. But this year in Beijing, six Olympians from five African nations will represent the continent, and they are not just there to make up the numbers.
Shannon Abeda (Eritrea) - Alpine Skiing
Abeda’s parents fled Eritrea for Canada in the 1980s, where Abeda grew up. Like many young Canadians, he was mad about ice hockey. But, because his parents thought the game too dangerous, he switched to Alpine skiing. Since 2011, Abeda has represented Eritrea at ski races, including at the 2018 Olympics in PyeongChang, where he became the first Eritrean to compete at the Winter Olympics.
Carlos Mäder (Ghana) - Alpine Skiing
Born in Ghana's Cape Coast, Mäder was adopted as a three-year-old by a family in Switzerland. At 43, he is the oldest competitor at the Beijing Olympics. Mäder has no coach and is going to the Olympics as a "one-man team." His message? "In sports, it's not only about winning. I want to show young people that with the right attitude, you can achieve anything."
Mialitiana Clerc (Madagascar) - Alpine Skiing
A French family living in the Alps adopted the 20-year-old as a young child. She learned to ski and now competes at European and World Cup events. Clerc's goal for her second Olympic Games after PyeongChang? "I want to be considered one of the world's best skiers and aim to achieve a top 40 finish."
Mathieu Neumuller (Madagascar) - Alpine Skiing
Madagascar’s flagbearer at the opening ceremony is Mathieu Neumuller. The 18-year-old son of a French father and Malagasy mother competes in Slalom and Giant Slalom, like teammate and fellow Olympian Mialitiana Clerc. He’s targeting a top 30 finish. Skiing is in Neumuller’s blood: his father is a ski instructor.
Samuel Ikpefan (Nigeria) - Cross Country Skiing
The 30-year-old hails from the French Alps and is a former French junior Sprint champion. After battling to crack the stacked French national team, Ikpefan almost gave up the sport before deciding to represent his father's native Nigeria instead. "I'm proud to represent an African nation at the Olympic Games," he says.
Yassine Aouich (Morocco) - Alpine Skiing
Aouich lives in northern Morocco's Atlas Mountains. At an altitude of 1,650 meters (5,413 feet), his hometown Ifrane is so close to ski slopes that the 31-year-old can train from home. He is the eighth Moroccan to compete at the Winter Olympic Games. His motivation: "I promised my son that I would make it to the Olympics. So, I had to do it!"