Shannon will carry the Eritrean flag at the opening and closing ceremonies of Winter Olympics 2018

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Shannon will carry the Eritrean flag at the opening and closing ceremonies of Winter Olympics 2018

Eritrea: alpine skiing

As the country’s sole participant at the Winter Olympics, Shannon-Ogbani Abeda will carry the Eritrean flag at the opening and closing ceremonies in Pyeongchang. But much of the practice that led him to the games happened in Fort McMurray, Canada, where he was born. With both of Abeda’s Eritrean parents moving to North America as refugees in the 1980s and eventually settling in Canada, Abeda first started skiing when he was three. That experience has now paid off as he will compete in alpine skiing slalom and giant slalom at Pyeongchang.

It won’t be his first time representing Eritrea at an international sports tournament though. In 2012, Abeda, then 16, represented Eritrea at the Youth Olympics in Austria. Abeda hopes that his appearance at the Olympics puts Eritrea on the map not just now, but in the future. “I hope to inspire other kids, whether they come from Eritrea, or another small country or small town, that one day they too could be in the Olympics,” he said.