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Snow Leopard "beat" reigning world champion

By GHP
By GHP

2/28/2010 7:23:36 AM -


Ghana skier Kwame Nkrumah-Acheampong became Ghana's first athlete to compete at a Winter Olympic Games on Saturday.

The 'snow leopard' "beat" accomplished skiers including reigning world champion Manfred Pranger of Austria and three-time medal winner here, Bode Miller of the United States. Both did not finish. Fog and mixed precipitation made for tough racing conditions, and 10 of the top 30-ranked skiers didn't reach the finish line.

The 34-year-old, who began skiing just 6 years ago, completed the first leg in 53rd position in 1min 09.08sec, 21.29sec behind leader RAZZOLI Giuliano of Italy.

He finished 48th overall after the 2nd round
He wasn't the slowest of the 54 men to make it to the finish line. Albania's Erjon Tola was a glacial 46.15 seconds off the lead time after taking the unusual step of climbing back up the course to pass through a missed gate.

"I've got to check the list because I needed to beat some people," said Nkrumah-Acheampong.

"It's all about coming down and trying to beat some people. If I beat some people, then that's a dream come true.

"I've been skiing for just six years now and to finish an Olympic run in these conditions, I'm happy."

Nkrumah-Acheampong said he had tried to block out the rousing reception afforded him as he approached the finish area.

"I could hear some sound but I was trying to concentrate on the rhythm of the gates."
The final run is scheduled to begin at 1:45 p.m. today.