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Africa’s Showing at the Winter Olympics

A record number of eight African countries competed at the 2018 Olympic Winter Games in PyeongChang, South Korea. At the 2022 Beijing winter games, currently underway, Africa is represented by six athletes from five countries: Eritrea, Ghana, Madagascar, Morocco and Nigeria. Five are competing in Alpine (downhill) skiing and one in cross country skiing. These athletes are not touted to win medals in 2022. But, in general, the overarching theme with African participation in the winter Olympics is in taking part and not winning, as my study of the continent’s history at the winter games shows. In contrast, African countries have done relatively well at the summer Olympic Games, particularly in the middle and long distance running events. Since 1908, they have won over 400 medals at the summer Olympics. Athletes representing African countries have not had any medal success at the Olympic Winter Games so far. A total of 15 African countries have participated at the winter Olympics in 58 years, from 1960 to 2022. Despite not winning medals, individual athletes have found success and acted as trailblazers in other ways.