The Snow Leopard

Kwame Nkrumah-Acheampong had a dream: to the Winter Olympics to compete with the world’s best skiers. But in order to get there, he had to become one of the world’s best skiers himself.

As a Ghanaian, he was underestimated at every step and regarded more as a curiosity than someone with a serious chance at Olympic success. He learned to ski at an artificial slope in Milton Keynes on a dare and from then on his journey didn’t get any less unusual.

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In order to qualify for the Olympics, he had to be part of Ghana’s ski federation but the problem was that there wasn’t one. So he created it himself. He needed sponsorships so that he could afford to train in the years leading up to the Games. So he walked into EasyJet’s headquarters, asked for one and got three years of unlimited flying across their network (with no luggage limits). This is how he got things done.

This determination of his is what gained him worldwide attention and made him famous as the Snow Leopard. This determination is what eventually got him to the Olympics. And now, years later, he is putting all his energy into skiing once again. His goal is to make Ghana a skiing country and to make everyone at home fall in love with winter sports. In the meantime, he is also training the next generation of snow leopards for the next Winter Olympics.

This week on Benched, Kwame Acheampong sits down to talk to Carl Anka, a sportswriter and broadcaster, about his journey. Listen to the latest episode to hear how Kwame achieved his dream through hard work, support from the people around him and, most importantly, his never waning belief that he could do it.