BREAKING NEWS : Big Ten becomes first Power Five conference to cancel fall football season Full Story

Olympian aims to get Eritreans on skis

They probably aren't medal contenders but some athletes wouldn't be at the Winter Olympics at all in PyeongChang unle...

Posted: Feb 8, 2018 11:09 PM
Updated: Feb 8, 2018 11:09 PM

They probably aren't medal contenders but some athletes wouldn't be at the Winter Olympics at all in PyeongChang unless they opted represent other countries. It happens at the Summer Olympics, too.

Indeed while the podium spots may be out of reach, they are sure to create a buzz -- not to mention history, in some cases -- in South Korea.

Shannon Abeda to make history for Eritrea at Winter Olympics

Born and lives in Canada but will represent the African nation

One of nearly 200 athletes not representing country of origin

READ: Less of an Olympian if you switch nations?

Here are five.

Shannon-Obgnai Abeda, alpine skiing, Eritrea

Abeda is set to become Eritrea's first ever winter Olympian. And with that, the 21-year-old is the flag bearer, too.

He was born in northern Alberta, Canada, after his parents fled the Northeast African nation that borders Ethiopia, Sudan and Djibouti.

Like many kids growing up in Canada, ice hockey was his first love. But his parents weren't especially keen.

"I wanted to be a hockey player, but they decided against that, and thought skiing was a good activity for me to do," he told the BBC. "My parents were too concerned about injuries (as) a hockey player."

He made the point that ski racers also rack up a lot of injuries. The knees are particularly affected, as Abeda knows first hand.

The computer science student almost certainly wouldn't have qualified for the Olympics if he represented Canada yet he told the CBC he now intends to "put Eritrea on the map."

"Right now my focus is to go to the Olympics, but afterward-I'd like to finish school, do some coaching and get the Eritrean community on some skis," he said.

Albin Tahiri, alpine skiing, Kosovo

Unlike Eritrea -- where the lowest average temperature in the capital city of Asmara hovers at 18 degrees Celsius -- Kosovo is accustomed to snow.

And Tahiri has been skiing his whole life.

He spends most of his time in his native Slovenia but jumped at the opportunity to represent Kosovo.

"When I started skiing, Kosovo was not an independent country," he was quoted as saying by PyeongChang 2018. "My father always cheered for Kosovan athletes and I did it as well, so when Kosovo proclaimed independence I wanted to help by representing the country as an athlete."

Like Abeda, the 28-year-old Tahiri is Kosovo's first winter Olympian and its flag bearer. He'll be busy on the slopes, scheduled to compete in all five alpine events.

His participation marks another step on the sporting ladder for Kosovo, which earned its first ever Olympic gold medal through wrestler Majlinda Kelmendi in Rio two years ago and recently concluded its first ever qualifying campaign for football's World Cup.

READ: Kosovo sport puts country on world stage

Kent Callister, snowboard, Australia

Like it or not, Callister may forever be known as a relative of Vegemite creator Cyril Callister. According to the PyeongChang 2018 website, the latter was his great uncle.

For those not in the know, the yeast extract spread was invented in Australia to rival a similar product -- Britain's Marmite -- and became a hit. So much so that the National Museum Australia lists Vegemite as a "symbol" of the nation.

"In the 1950s, Vegemite spoke of Australian vitality and innocence," wrote the NMA. "Today it provides a connection back to seemingly simpler times and is symbolic of the reverence for the ordinary in Australian culture."

Kent Callister was born in San Diego to an Australian father, moved to Australia, then returned to the US. He chose to represent Australia after receiving a scholarship from its Olympic Winter Institute.

The 22-year-old made a splash in Sochi four years ago, finishing ninth in the halfpipe and has been ranked as high as fourth although he is currently 43rd in the standings.

Matt Dalton, ice hockey, South Korea

When South Korea battles Canada in men's ice hockey on Feb. 18, the game is sure to take on added significance for half-a-dozen members of the home team: They were all born in Canada but are playing for South Korea, having become naturalized.

Goalie Dalton is one of the bunch. He figures to be busy, yet not as busy as he might have initially expected since no NHL break means no NHLers on site.

South Korea's head coach is Jim Paek, who was the first South Korean to play in the NHL. He won two Stanley Cups with the Pittsburgh Penguins.

Paek insisted there was nothing wrong with the native Canadians being on the team.

"They've been here longer than I've been here," he told CTV. "So they are, in a sense, more Korean than I am."

Isadora Williams, figure skating, Brazil

Williams -- Brazil's first ever Olympic figure skating entrant in Sochi in 2014 -- is one of nine athletes on the South American nation's team.

The 22-year-old was born and resides in the US -- currently attending New Jersey's Montclair State University -- but her mom is Brazilian.

Williams told MSU's student newspaper she is intent on improving from her 30th place finish in Sochi.

"My first Olympics did not go as well as I had hoped," she said. "It kind of sucked working towards something and it not going as well as you'd hoped. It was three minutes, but it felt like my whole skating career was over.

Visit our Olympic page for more Games coverage

"But I decided to get back into skating, and I'm just happy to have another chance to perform to my potential."

Indiana Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 74992

Reported Deaths: 3044
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Marion15963725
Lake7632275
Elkhart488385
Allen3937163
St. Joseph354682
Hamilton2803104
Vanderburgh199713
Hendricks1901108
Cass17969
Johnson1767118
Porter133839
Clark124447
Tippecanoe122111
Madison98765
LaPorte92130
Howard90565
Kosciusko86212
Bartholomew80147
Floyd79146
Marshall79022
Monroe75930
Delaware73852
Dubois70012
Noble68429
Boone68346
Hancock67038
Vigo66810
Jackson5885
Warrick58630
LaGrange55910
Shelby55827
Grant52830
Dearborn50828
Morgan48334
Clinton4403
Henry38520
Wayne37710
White37210
Montgomery35421
Lawrence35027
Harrison34123
Decatur33832
Putnam2908
Miami2742
Daviess27320
Scott26810
Greene25134
Jasper2452
Franklin24314
DeKalb2354
Gibson2284
Jennings22612
Steuben2113
Ripley2087
Carroll1932
Fayette1907
Perry18612
Starke1787
Posey1770
Orange17324
Wells1712
Wabash1703
Fulton1692
Jefferson1652
Knox1590
Whitley1546
Tipton14311
Washington1421
Spencer1363
Sullivan1341
Clay1245
Huntington1243
Randolph1234
Newton11810
Adams1022
Jay920
Owen911
Pulaski831
Rush804
Brown741
Fountain742
Blackford652
Ohio655
Benton620
Pike560
Vermillion550
Parke521
Switzerland520
Crawford450
Martin450
Union410
Warren231
Unassigned0206

Ohio Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 101731

Reported Deaths: 3673
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Franklin18483525
Cuyahoga13640500
Hamilton9689255
Lucas5377323
Montgomery439894
Summit3573223
Butler294463
Marion292945
Mahoning2566254
Pickaway238742
Stark1844139
Warren180339
Lorain180278
Columbiana166560
Trumbull1534107
Fairfield140032
Delaware131619
Licking129949
Clark115814
Lake112438
Wood105858
Clermont94111
Medina93035
Miami85338
Tuscarawas78814
Portage76561
Allen76044
Greene70312
Mercer62513
Belmont62126
Richland60812
Erie59227
Ashtabula57446
Geauga55844
Wayne54458
Ross4904
Darke40229
Huron4015
Ottawa39026
Madison38810
Sandusky38417
Hancock3793
Athens3591
Holmes3286
Lawrence2880
Auglaize2566
Union2541
Muskingum2391
Jefferson2342
Scioto2341
Seneca2223
Putnam20817
Knox2067
Washington20522
Preble2042
Shelby2004
Coshocton1946
Champaign1782
Crawford1745
Morrow1722
Hardin16912
Clinton1656
Highland1591
Logan1552
Ashland1493
Defiance1484
Wyandot1488
Fulton1471
Brown1382
Perry1363
Williams1353
Guernsey1187
Hocking1189
Henry1172
Fayette1150
Carroll1105
Monroe9318
Pike770
Jackson750
Van Wert721
Paulding700
Gallia651
Adams612
Meigs500
Vinton312
Morgan280
Harrison261
Noble160
Unassigned00
Fort Wayne
Scattered Clouds
79° wxIcon
Hi: 81° Lo: 60°
Feels Like: 81°
Angola
Clear
81° wxIcon
Hi: 80° Lo: 59°
Feels Like: 82°
Huntington
Broken Clouds
80° wxIcon
Hi: 81° Lo: 59°
Feels Like: 83°
Decatur
Scattered Clouds
79° wxIcon
Hi: 83° Lo: 59°
Feels Like: 81°
Van Wert
Scattered Clouds
79° wxIcon
Hi: 82° Lo: 59°
Feels Like: 81°
Isolated Showers Tuesday
WFFT Radar
WFFT Temperatures
WFFT National

Community Events