Snow Leopard training at Mount Washington for Olympics

There may not be snow in his native Ghana, but that's not stopping Kwame Nkrumah-Acheampong from competing in alpine skiing in the 2010 Olympics.

  • Jan. 28, 2010 11:00 a.m.
Kwame Nkrumah-Acheampong will be training at Mount Washington.

Kwame Nkrumah-Acheampong will be training at Mount Washington.

There may not be snow in his native Ghana, but that’s not stopping Kwame Nkrumah-Acheampong from competing in alpine skiing in the 2010 Olympics.

“It’s a privilege, to be the first Ghanian to ski in the Winter Olympics,” said Nkrumah-Acheampong this week from the United Kingdom, where he’s training at an indoor snowdome.

His adventure will begin this weekend, when he boards a plane to head to the Comox Valley. Thanks to a group of corporate, private and community sponsors, the “Snow Leopard” as he’s been called, will do his pre-games training on Mount Washington.

“It’s fantastic that individuals have come together to give us this fantastic opportunity,” said Nkrumah-Acheampong. “Life just becomes easier.”

Every day of training counts for the Snow Leopard — and he’s grateful to be coming to the Comox Valley for his preparations. This week in the U.K., he announced that he was coming to the Comox Valley to a group of international media — many of whom will follow him to the site.

His path to the Olympics is an interesting and quick one.

Five years ago, after having grown up in Ghana in west Africa and moving to Britain, he found work at an indoor winter sports arena and strapped on skis for the first time. He missed qualification for the Turin Olympics, but his dream came true when he made it to Vancouver’s event.

“I think I’m as ready as time and resources will allow,” said Nkrumah-Acheampong, alluding to the fact there are no ski team funds from his native country.

That aside, donors have stepped up to make his dream a reality.

The acclimatization will begin next week, on Vancouver Island. Hopefully, he said, it’ll be the start of a run that helps inspire his country.

“We don’t have snow in Ghana, but I think it will be inspiring for some youngsters,” he said.

reporter@comoxvalleyrecord.com

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