Ghana's 1st Winter Olympian to hit B.C. slopes
Known as 'Snow Leopard,' Acheampong says he'll be glad to just finish slalom race
A snow leopard will be prowling the slopes at the 2010 Olympics, but he's after gold, not blood.
Kwame Nkrumah Acheampong, dubbed "the Snow Leopard," is competing for Ghana in slalom and giant slalom at the Vancouver Games. He is the sole representative of his West African country at the Games and the first Ghanaian to compete in the Winter Olympics.
Acheampong, who was born in Scotland but grew up in Mamfe Akwapim, Ghana, arrived this week for some pre-Olympic training runs at Mt. Washington on Vancouver Island, where the downhill skier stands out in his distinctive leopard-print training suit.
The 35-year-old Ghanaian skier says it's "very warm" in Canada, which, considering the current daily temperature in Ghana is about 34 C, must be a reference to the warm reception he's received from locals.
Acheampong has footed almost all his own Olympic costs but thanks to his supporters he is able to drive to the mountain in a brand new leopard-print car with a slogan on the side saying, "Live leopard on board."
With only six years of competitive skiing behind him, Acheampong admits he's a long-shot for a medal but says that for him, success will mean just finishing the race.