18 Feb 2014 – The Zambezian introduces us to Togo’s first competitor at the Winter Olympics, cross-country skier Mathilde-AmiviPetitjean.

We’re told that she crossed the line in the women’s 10-kilometer classical race Thursday in 68th place, nearly 10 minutes behind winner JustynaKowalczyk of Poland. However, this fact has not diminished the athlete’s enthusiasm in any way. She is quoted as saying  “I think all the people in all African countries are happy for me,”It’s good for African countries that they see it’s possible to participate in the Winter Olympic Games.”

Born in Niger to a Togolese mother, we’re told that MathildePetitjean, whohas spent most of her life in France, started her Olympic journey when she received a Facebook message from an official from the Togolese ski federationin March 2013, enquiring whether she would be interested in representing Togo at the Sochi Games.

She is already turning her focus toward the 2018 Winter Games in South Korea and hopes that competing at the Olympics and the subsequent media attention may help attract some sponsors.

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