Olympic skier from Ghana supports snow leopard conservation

Wed Jan 27, 2010 12:50 pm EST

Your new favorite Olympian: Ghana’s Kwame Nkrumah-Acheampong

By Trey Kerby

Who is Kwame Nkrumah-Acheampong? Besides spellcheck’s worst nightmare?

He’s Ghana’s entire Winter Olympics team.

The first Ghanaian in the history of the Olympics, Nkrumah-Acheampong began skiing just six years ago after getting a job as a receptionist at a ski center in England. Two years later, he skied outdoors, and that same year, attempted to qualify for the 2006 Winter Olympics. Now, he’s heading to Vancouver.

Nicknamed “The Snow Leopard,” Nkrumah-Acheampong will be competing in alpine skiing events. And he’s super quotable:

“No problem; choo, choo, I’m the train which never stops,” he cackles. The computer beeps. “Jackpot!” It’s a message from a major online poker site who want to back him because they think he will be the story of the Winter Olympics

“I was not built for this pain, pain, pain. I still get frostbite,” he says.

“I was number 111, last to go in a blizzard, bitter cold and on a desperately icy piste. The starter asked me ‘You OK?’ and I said ‘No, I don’t want to go. But I must’. I finished last (by nearly half a minute) but I fought. And I survived.”

Those come from Ian Chadband’s essential profile on the skiier. He has recently picked up a sponsorship from the online poker site mentioned in the article, and if he has extra dollars, those go to charity to help save the endangered snow leopard from extinction.

It’s a great story about what seems like a great guy. I’ll be rooting for him this February.

http://sports.yahoo.com/olympics/vancouver/blog/fourth_place_medal/post/Your-new-favorite-Olympian-Ghana-s-Kwame-Nkruma?urn=oly,216025

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