For Some Countries, Medal Hopes Rely on Single Athlete
Given the extravaganza of the Vancouver opening ceremonies, the Olympics seem to be a good place for a country to show off. China certainly accomplished this with their Opening Ceremonies in 2008, but also in their overall medal count.
Going back to 1980 and the Lake Placid ‘Miracle on Ice,’ it is also a place for super-powers to battle each other in fair competition as opposed to a battlefield or arms race.
So what about the countries with small representation? Large or small, there are countries with very few athletes completing. They may not have anything to prove to the world - they could just be there to compete. Possibly for fun. I honestly don’t know the story behind Ghana’s alpine skier Kwame Nkrumah-Acheampong, but I am sure there is something interesting there. There has to be. Right?
In an unofficial count, I was able to find at least 18 countries that will have only one representative. In almost all cases you can understand why these countries don’t have more athletes in other sports. I can’t imagine there is much opportunity to get ice skates on in Senegal, Portugal or Mexico.
Of the 18 countries with single representatives, 11 of them are in Alpine Skiing. This leads me to believe that Alpine Skiing is the easiest sport to qualify for. If Pakistan, Morocco and the Cayman Islands can find time to ski, surely I can too.
Coaches and past athletes probably add to the entourage who marched under the flag during the Opening Ceremonies. I would hope that family would also be brought along, but I’ve seen Cool Runnings, I know there isn’t always money to bring family along. I have to assume that Ethiopia has bigger priorities than sending friends and family across the globe.Continued on the next page