The latest issue of the Olympic Review features an interview of 37-year-old Philip Boit from Kenya who caught the world's attention at the 1998 Olympic Winter Games at Nagano. He was Kenya's first winter Olympian and the public was mesmerized by the fact he had first strapped on a pair of skis only two years previously. Boit struggled home last in the 10km Cross-Country competition and the winner, Bjørn Dæhlie of Norway, was so inspired by Boit's determination that he refused to accept his medal until Boit finished the race. The Kenyan, who has competed in three FIS Nordic World Ski Championships including in Liberec in February 2009, has no plans on hanging up his skis just yet. He is training for the 2010 Winter Games in Vancouver.
Kenya isn't known for its winter sports. How did you get started in skiing?
Philip Boit: It was in February 1996 that I started, so it has been more than ten years now. At the time we were sponsored by a sportswear company which suggested that we try winter sports. I was a middle distance runner but switched sports for the Winter Games. I was the first Kenyan to compete in the Olympic Winter Games. The first time I saw snow was when I arrived in Finland to start training! My first experiences were very difficult. I couldn't handle the skis at all and when I tried to stand, I would fall over. I spent a lot of time lying in the snow, freezing cold. I was in a lot of pain and I remember thinking if this goes on forever I might quit skiing.
And now you've been to three Olympic Winter Games and are training for your fourth. How is your training going?
I have a great coach and really enjoy training. I train for about two and a half hours outside every day and alternate the style of training. For instance, today was classic style; tomorrow will be skating style. When I am in Kenya of course I have to train differently because we don't have snow. There I run and go to the gym to work on my endurance. Sometimes I walk with poles or rollerskates. At the Games in Nagano, Salt Lake City and Turin I did the sprints and the 10km classic, and in Vancouver I will compete in the same events.
For the full interview, please access the latest issue of Olympic Review here.
Source: Olympic Solidarity