The 2022 Winter Olympics will take place Feb. 4-20 in Beijing, where more than 80 tropical nations will be part of the Games. For the participating athletes, just qualifying is a huge feat as no athlete from a tropical country has ever won a medal in the Winter Olympics.
To learn more about Winter Olympics athletes from warm-weather regions, Stacker curated a list of 18 tropical countries scheduled to participate this year. Tropical countries are found between the Tropic of Cancer and the Tropic of Capricorn. Countries with borders that overlap the tropical and non-tropical regions are regarded as partially tropical. Puerto Rico, although not an independent country, is included on the list because it has a separate Olympic committee from the United States.
Jamaica’s iconic bobsled team, depicted in the Disney movie “Cool Runnings,” may come to mind when you think of athletes from warm-weather countries defying the odds to compete in a winter sport. Then there’s the story of Alpine skier Shannon-Ogbani Abeda, born in Canada after his parents fled war in their home country of Eritrea. Abeda will represent Eritrea at the Winter Games.
For many of these athletes, it’s more than just adapting to a frigid environment by wearing extra layers of clothing. There are other factors, especially for those just starting out, such as purchasing equipment, which is often costly; finding places to train, which requires leaving tropical countries for colder places for the outdoor-sports athletes; and of course, attracting funding from sponsors. Several athletes, such as Kellie Delka, have turned to family and friends for help to financially fulfill their Olympic dream.
A qualification system for athletes is in place for the 2022 Winter Olympics in Beijing. Additionally, Beijing will enforce COVID-19 testing measures for Winter Games participants that require at least two negative pre-departure tests, testing upon arrival at the airport, and daily PCR testing.
Keep reading to learn more about the tropical countries competing at this year’s Winter Olympics.