Hello Redditors, This is my second AMA. My schedule is extremely busy leading into games but I will try my best to respond to all of your questions up until then. I will be responding every evening. My name is Shannon-Ogbani Abeda and I am an alpine skier representing Eritrea in the upcoming winter Olympic games in Pyeongchang. I’m a 21 year old Computer Science major student and this will be my first participation in the Winter Olympic Games. If you’d like to follow me on my journey to the games, you can follow me on Instagram.

Instagram: erialpine96

I understand that some of you may have certain views that do not necessarily reflect with others or myself and I respect that. However, I’d ask that you be civil and respectful with one another. In regards to some of political questions that have been asked, the Olympic Games bring together athletes from a number of nations around the world to compete in sports at a high level regardless of their ethnicity, religion, sex, or for political reasons. Unity is a key foundation of the games. I do not have any political affiliations and I’m certainly not skiing to achieve any political motives. I am going to Pyeongchang to represent Eritrea, its people, and the diaspora. I’m sorry, but I didn’t come here to answer those questions.

Again, I’d like to thank all of you for your questions and positive feedback! I didn’t expect the amount of traction I would be receiving on some of these subreddits. Thank you for your support redditors, it means a lot!!

On CBC News


Edit 1: I didn’t except this many questions, please patient as I will try my best to respond to them; I’m not ignoring them, I just have to train, eat, do school, and you know sleep.

Edit 2: I'm back! Everyone, I just have to say THANK YOU! I never expected that I'd get such a big response! It's really heartwarming to hear the messages of support. I also really appreciate those of you respectfully voicing difficult or challenging questions. The only way we learn and grow is by challenging ourselves and each other. I'll do my best to answer all questions posed respectfully.

Edit 3: Thanks again everyone, I'm going to take another break from answering your questions. I'll be back later to keep going!

Edit 4: Hey, I’m back again! I just got off the hill and I’m having a bite to eat. I have a few minutes before I head home and I’ll try to answer a few questions. I will also be answering some later this evening. Once again, thank you Redditors for your questions

Edit 5: Hey Redditors, I’m still here trying to answer all the 900+ comments I’ve received! All you have a great and interesting questions that I like to respond to and I will try to do so as soon as possible. I appreciate your understanding and patience!

Comments: 969 • Responses: 23  • Date: 

etrebel161808 karma

Will you have to walk all by yourself in the Opening Ceremonies parade? Does that mean you get to carry the flag, too? Sounds like it would be cool, but also kind of lonely. Good luck!!

ERIALPINE963119 karma

I won’t have to be alone during the Opening Ceremonies. My support team, my parents, and other members of our delegation will be walking along with me.

emperorgenghiskhan858 karma

Have you actually ever lived in Eritrea? Or are you just representing them as your home country?

ERIALPINE967 karma

No, as mentioned elsewhere in this thread I was born and raised in Fort McMurray, Alberta and grew up in Calgary, Alberta. I’m incredibly proud to represent my parents home country, the people of Eritrea home and abroad.

ProdigalTimmeh453 karma

Greetings from a fellow Calgary resident!

Your Instagram says you're also a weightlifter in the 77kg class. Do you compete in weightlifting currently, or have you switched gears completely to alpine skiing?

ERIALPINE9611 karma

I started weightlifting in 2011 at PeakPower here in Calgary and used at it means of cross training for my sport. I’m not currently competing in weightlifting because of my skiing, but I would love to get more into competition during my next off-season.

Honeybadgerbotherer359 karma

Hey man, just wanted to say good luck. My mum is Eritrean and I was born there (half English and live in the UK now) I will show her this thread later and I'm sure she will be proud of you. A question for you, how many times have you been to Eritrea? Have you got much family there still?

ERIALPINE967 karma

Thanks for the good wishes! I’ve been to Eritrea twice in my life; once in 2002 and again in 2014. I would like to go back as soon as I can, however I am unable currently due to my academic studies, work and training schedule. I am currently planning on going back this summer or the next one. I have A LOT of close family (cousins, aunts, uncles, etc) and most of my father’s immediate family still lives there and we still keep in touch regularly.

harrogate340 karma

Is there much of a skiing community in Eritrea? Or in Africa as a whole?

ERIALPINE96560 karma

There isn’t much of a ski community in Eritrea, but I hope through my participation at the Olympics I can inspire Eritreans in Europe and North America to take up skiing.

In Africa there are a few countries with athletes that compete in Cross-Country, Ski Cross and Alpine. I’m familiar with some of them and actually have trained/competed with a few of them.

goldgibbon335 karma

Congrats. What do you hope to do after getting a computer science degree?

ERIALPINE96430 karma

At the moment, I'm not 100% sure if I will continue with my CS degree and I might switch my major. If I do continue with the CS program, I want to work on some cybersecurity and be a private contractor. I've talked to some people in that field, and they advised me not to pursue it considering the development of AI's and how they might phase out these jobs. Realistically though after I graduate, I will probably be working on as a system analyst or some web development job.

CamoAndCrowns242 karma

How did you get started in skiing?

Do you train in your home country and if so how? (Example: are there "fake snow mountain" courses for practice?)

Bonus fun question: How many & what languages can you speak?

ERIALPINE96523 karma

Unfortunately, I do not train in my home country. It’s only snowed once in Eritrea and the climate can’t really sustain a ski hill. It would be nice in the future if they build a dry slope.

I speak English and French. I also can understand and speak Tigrinya, but its EXTREMELY rusty.

GodEmperorScorch193 karma

After you watched the film "Cool Runnings" what was your rating of it between 8.01-10.00?

ERIALPINE965 karma

Ummmm, I'm going to go with a solid 9, I've actually met some of the members of the Jamaican Bobsled team and the actors don't quite do them justice. The actual bobsledders are insanely jacked!

emperorgenghiskhan154 karma

Where do you practice? And how did you get into skiing?

ERIALPINE96268 karma

My home resort is currently Panorama based in Invermere, BC. During the off season, I train in Calgary at the Winsport facilities and also at Peak Power at SAIT. Occasionally, I will go down to the southern hemisphere in NZ for a month and in the fall before the beginning of our season here, I will travel to Austria to train on a glacier.

I first got into skiing when I was 3 years old through my sister. Her girl guide group went to the local hill in Fort McMurray (We were living there at the time) and she really enjoyed it! Through her friends that were with the local Fort McMurray club, she managed to convince my parents to sign my brother and I up for some lessons and later into a racing program with the club. I actually hated skiing and wanted to play hockey like all my classmates, but I was forced into the program by my folks. I only started enjoying it more when my dad’s job relocated our family to Calgary and I was exposed to the Rocky Mountains.

danawhitesbaldhead16 karma

What's your best Snatch and clean and Jerk?

Also shout out to peak power. Great gym.

ERIALPINE9634 karma

Mike Souster’s and his team are some of the best condition coaches I ever worked with! Mike was able to get my fitness and strength level to where it is today and also helped do my rehab program to get back on snow. Quite frankly, I wouldn’t want to work with anyone else.

Clean and Squat Jerk: 65kg

Snatch: 35 or 40kg???

I just started getting into back into weightlifting almost two years ago (After Knee injury) and I’m still working on my numbers. Hopefully, this summer once I’m retired I can push some higher numbers.

That_Violinist64 karma

First of all, congratulations! I wish you the best of luck!

When did you first become interested in doing this and did you ever think the Olympics was in your future?

ERIALPINE96117 karma

When I first moved to Calgary and my ability started to develop, I began to consider that this may be something that I’d like to pursue in the future. When I was 9 years old, I had really good coach that was able to see my potential and really push me out of my comfort zone. He spent a lot time working with me and convincing me that I could do better. if it wasn’t for him, I probably wouldn’t have continued on this far.

I had somewhat of an idea that I would be going to the Olympics as a child, but never really considered it fully until I attended the Youth Olympic Games in 2012. I actually wasn’t even sure if I would be going to these games after my knee injury a couple years ago. I remember when I was struggling during my rehab and was about to quit, my mom reminded me of the pictures I drew of myself standing on top of a podium at the Olympics and after I attended a small Junior Olympic event I told everyone that I would be going to Olympics some day. And here I am today.

jeggah41 karma

Tabs or spaces?

ERIALPINE9669 karma

Have to go with Tabs considering that I code.

Beru7328 karma

I saw your FIS biography and it looks like your are better in technical disciplines (GS and SL).

What event do you plan attending ?

Who will be the staff around you for this event ? You need all the chances on your side.

Too bad you started racing in 2011, I quit ski racing in 2009. We could have raced together !

Good luck, and maybe I will see you in Pyeongchang ( I'd like to see)

ERIALPINE963 karma

I will be competing in both technical events in Pyeongchang (GS and SL). After my knee injury, speed was out of the question and we switched our focus to those events.

aimee41526 karma

Congratulations! I have a non-Olympic/Computer Science related question to throw in the mix!

I made plans to eat at an Eritrean restaurant for the first time. What foods do you recommend anyone try if they’ve never had Eritrean cuisine?

Wishing you the best of luck and much success!

ERIALPINE963 karma

Great question! I’m going to bring my sister and mom into this one.

My sister likes a Shiro (chickpea curry), Bercin (lentil curry), and the mixed vegetables (Allycha). She's a vegetarian.

My mom likes Kilua which is a meat sauce with lamb or beef.

Personally, I enjoy Dulet (tripe and liver)

Traditionally Eritrean food is eaten with your hands with injera (a type of crepe-like sourdough flatbread). Similar to how you would eat curry with Naan Bread.

Asynthope17 karma

I saw that you mentioned the 2012 Youth Olympic Games. How was your experience competing in Vancouver?

EDIT: Accidentally said Nanjing--that was 2014 Summer.

ERIALPINE9627 karma

I think you meant Innsbruck. Honestly, it was an amazing experience and being able to experience the Olympic culture was nothing short of amazing. I wasn’t mature and very inexperienced in how international events work. I came into the games with a bad mindset and I didn’t perform to the way I wanted to. I learned a lot of good lessons and I’m glad that I went.

selfliberating15 karma

Man how are you training for the Olympics and making it to class on time?

I struggle going to my 8 am

ERIALPINE9620 karma

It's a difficult task, but manageable with the right time management. I take a lower course load during the winter and heavier during the spring/summer semester. It helps, but yes I still struggle to sleep and get up sometimes just like you.

MagicMikeOfiicial9 karma

Any opinion on the nude swim at southland?

ERIALPINE9614 karma

Just googled it!! Had no idea that was happening, but I’d be okay with it 😂😂😂

Twoafros8 karma

Before I get to the question I just wanted to say keep doing what you are doing and I hope you dominate in the Olympics! Much love from Ethiopia!

Here's the question: Do you have any good luck routines or rituals you do before a competition?

ERIALPINE9612 karma

Nothing that come to mind unfortunately! I have in the past, but every race day is different. For pre-race, I usually do my warmup (Leg swings, core exercises, etc.) and plug in some music.

emanesu656 karma

Is this guy even here anymore?

ERIALPINE9614 karma

Yup, still here and alive! I'm trying to get to everyone's questions.

GP3PU36 karma

Is the olympic camp as wild as they say?

ERIALPINE964 karma

Ahaha, I know a few people that attended previous games, and they told me some things 😏 That's why it's called Tinder city!

MFDef3 karma

Dose competing stop you from enjoying Injera and Zigni?

ERIALPINE963 karma

Absolutely not! My Mom makes the best injera and dulet!

KyrgyzManas2 karma

If you had to choose between Mikaela Shiffrin, Lindsey Vonn or Julia Mancuso....what was your pick?

ERIALPINE9610 karma

Mikaela Shiffrin! I've seen her train upfront, and without a doubt, she's one of the best technical skiers I have ever seen. She's also really cute!

known2own-24 karma

How do you feel about transgender women (biological men) competing in the women's divisions this year?

I predict women will set some new records this year ;)

ERIALPINE9654 karma

I hadn't thought about that. As an athlete my first focus has always been on being my best self. I hope that everyone gets their own opportunity to do the same