The land-locked and very warm African country of Zimbabwe may not be the first place that springs to mind when you think of the Winter Olympics, but one young man is about to show that sport of all kinds is an important feature of Zimbabwean life.
Luke Steyn, 20, was born in Zimbabwe but moved to Switzerland with his family when he was just two. His father's career in mining took the family around Europe and over to the United States where he is currently studying at the University of Colorado. Luke has been a competitive skier since the tender age of 9 and is looking forward to the Winter Olympics which will be held in February in Sochi. He will be the first ever Zimbabwean representative at the Winter Olympics.
Interviewed by the New York Times, the youngster said: "“Though I have moved from Zimbabwe, I still feel very much connected to it." He has visited the country of his birth frequently and, like everyone born in Africa, feels that Africa is in his blood and would like to return one day to live and work in Zimbabwe.
Whilst snow is not something you are ever likely to see in Zimbabwe (there are rumours that it did snow once in the Eastern Highlands in the 1960's), their Olympic Committee could see that Luke has the talent and drive to go far in his chosen sport and awarded him a Scholarship which has allowed him to take time out from University to train.
He told The Herald, "I see it more as a learning curve and obviously, I am going to try my best and achieve what I can, it’s a stepping stone. It’s more about getting stronger, getting better at skiing and understand the sport and get more experience that’s what it is about."
The Zimbabwe Olympic Committee is committed to developing athletes and announced that they believe that Luke has "great potential." Other Zimbabwean Olympians include the swimmer Kirsty Coventry, who won medals at the 2004 Olympics in Athens and the 2008 Olympics in Beijing. Sprinter Lewis Banda reached the semi-finals in the 400m in 2004 and again in 2008. At the London 2012 Olympics, Zimbabwean athletes took part in the marathon, rowing, swimming and the tri-athlon.
Whilst Zimbabweans are more used to cheering on their cricket team or their golfers, Luke can be assured of tremendous support from his home country.