Eritrea’s first Winter Olympian, Shannon-Ogbnai Abeda, is making a comeback in Alpine skiing at the 2022 Beijing Games.
His first appearance on the global stage was in the Pyeongchang 2018 Games in South Korea.
Injuries and 10 surgeries to his knee and groin hampered him and forced him to retire from the sport. He however resumed skiing in September 2021 and qualified for the 2022 winter games in December.
He said; “It’s too surreal, and it hasn’t sunk [in] yet. … I have officially qualified for my second Olympic Games. About two months [ago], I was close to throwing in the towel.”
Abeda said he was motivated to do sports after he was introduced to it by his sister while growing up in Canada. According to his narration, his parents migrated to the North American country from Eritrea during the country’s civil war in the 1980s.
The Olympian made up his mind to represent his parents’ birth country in skiing in 2011.
”When I was 7 or 8 years old, I drew a picture of myself standing on the podium of the Olympics. As a child, you make dreams, and you talk about these things. I never expected myself to be here.
”I hope that through my participation in the Winter Olympic Games, I can pave the path forward for other people of color to participate,” Abeda said.
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