One of the skiers from
non-skiing countries to attract a lot of media attention at the Winter Olympics
for his curiosity value was Ghana’s ‘Snow Leopard’ who like Cayman’s Dow
Travers was a one-man band.
sole ambition in the slalom was just to finish and not come last at Whistler
Creekside on Saturday. He had the satisfaction of doing both, finishing 47th, a
full minute and 4.6 seconds behind winner Giuliano Razzoli of Italy, but
crucially well ahead of the last placed skier.
Kwame has been a media star
in Vancouver because of his unusual background. Born in Scotland and raised in
Accra, he discovered skiing only six years ago when working at a dry ski-slope
centre in England. Immediately hooked; he dedicated himself to making the
Vancouver Games and to prove a point of not being the slowest.
Behind Kwame, 34, was
Albania’s Erjon Tola who at least had the satisfaction of completing the course
in difficult conditions. Forty-seven of the 102 starters did not finish,
including American Bode Miller, three-time medallist at Vancouver and Austria’s
Manfred Pranger, the world champion.
Travers was 69th out of 81 finishers in the giant slalom on Tuesday
in his first Winter Olympics. Significantly, he was only 25 seconds behind the
winner and his coach Gene Bridgewater believes that Travers can improve by 20
seconds by the next Winter Olympics if he can train at least 200 days a year.
Travers was pleased for
Nkrumah-Acheampong. He said: “Kwame did very well. A lot of people expected him
to do badly. With half the field falling he had the satisfaction of like me
completing his two runs and I’m glad he got around.”
There has been some
criticism in Cayman about how big an entourage Travers had and the overall cost
yet he only had two Cayman Islands Olympic Committee members at the Games –
Donald McLean and Carson Ebanks. Nkrumah-Acheampong had six from Ghana.