Skiing is a predominantly white sport. It’s expensive and is largely practised in countries highly populated by white people. However, black people are now finding their way into the sport. They practise skiing recreationally and professionally. In this article, we list 5 famous black skiers who are opening the doors for aspiring black skiers.
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Andre Horton was introduced to skiing by his mother, who was a seasoned skier. He started out with cross-country skiing before he transitioned to alpine skiing. Horton was based in Jacksonville and then went to Mount Bachelor Ski Educational Foundation, which helped him gain a place in the United States team.
By 2002, he was one of the best African-American skiers in the U.S. One of his most memorable victories was beating Bode Miller. Unfortunately, Horton struggled to finance his skiing career and was a victim of racial abuse.
In 2004, one of the most famous black skiers retired from the sport. He’s transitioned to photography and entrepreneurship. Andre Horton is still involved in the sport as a member of the National Brotherhood of Skiing.
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One thing that makes Benjamin Alexander one of the most famous black skiers is the fact that he’s a late bloomer. Unlike most skiers, he picked up the sport at the age of 32. Before that, the Jamaican-born English skier was a disk jockey. In 2022, he became the first Jamaican to represent the country in Alpine skiing.
He’s also the only member of his country’s skiing team. Alexander had his work cut out and spent one month in Canada skiing alongside former skier Gordon Gray.
The Jamaican needed to get to 160 points, one of the requirements by the Federation of International Skiing (FIS) to qualify for the Olympics. He reached this mark in just 6 races and went to the Beijing Winter Olympics in 2022.
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Seba Johnson is one of the most famous black skiers. She started skiing when she was seven. At 14, she went to the 1988 Winter Olympics and made history by becoming the first black woman to ski at the games.
Johnson skied at two other Olympic tournaments: the 1992 and 1994 Winter Olympics. She was a top 30 finalist in an international competition and remains the only black person to achieve this.
Seba Johnson retired from the sport in 1992 to pursue other interests. She’s a vocal animal rights advocate and is an actress.
Madagascar-born French skiers added to the number of black female skiers to go to the Olympics. Mialitiana first skied at two years old and first competed at the age of nine. At the Winter Olympics in PyeongChang, the Malagasy finished 47th in the Slalom event and 48th in the Giant Slalom.
In 2019, Clerc went to the World Championship. She now competes at the Federation of International Skiing competitions. These achievements make her one of the most famous black skiers.
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Sabrina Simader is the first black woman to compete at the Olympics after Seba Johnson. In 2018, she represented Kenya in the Winter Olympics in PyeongChang. The Kenyan-born Austrian was introduced to the sport by her adoptive Austrian father.
At 10, Simader won a ski club competition and afterward, attended a school that specializes in skiing. In 2012, Simader bagged her first major victory when she won the Styrian Championship title.
Despite growing up in Austria, she represents Kenya internationally and is the only member of the Kenyan skiing team. The skier has been to two Olympics: the 2016 Winter Youth Olympics in Norway and the 2018 Winter Olympics in South Korea. Her best performance to date came in 2016 when she finished seventh in a FIS-Slalom race.
These famous black skiers demonstrate that you can achieve anything if you put your mind to it. Even if they’re still a minority in the sport, it’s amazing to have them inspire black people who want to take part in the sport.
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