Mialitiana Clerc: Africa’s only woman at the Winter Olympics couldn’t feel prouder

Dylan Bettencourt

Africa’s sole female representative in Beijing, Mialitiana Clerc, said just being present at the Winter Olympics was a victory for her.

The slalom skier said that she feels particularly triumphant in light of the fact that she came close to quitting the sport altogether.

Clerc wanted to leave the sport after she broke both her tibia and fibula while competing in January last year. This kept her out of the sport for the majority of 2021.

The 22-year-old from Madagascar finished 41st in the giant slalom and 43rd in the slalom but she emphasised how proud she was of her performances.

“I should be proud. They are good places for me, because I am coming back from injury, so I didn’t have a lot of time to train and do some races and to get ready for the Olympics,” Clerc told BBC Sport Africa.

“I didn’t know if I really wanted to continue alpine skiing,” she said.


However, it was the spirit of the Olympics and the magic of the games that had the athlete back on her skis, ready to compete in Beijing.

“But I really wanted to go to the Olympics and race again. I was like ‘Come on Mia, you can do it – just think about it every day and you’ll be there’, and here I am,” Clerc said.

The Malagasy athlete was one of six Africans representing five countries from the continent at the recently concluded games. This was Clerc’s second appearance at a Winter Olympics event.

Clerc was adopted by a French couple and went to live in the European country and with Madagascar being a sub-tropical region, training for a Winter sport would have been nearly impossible for her.

Despite living in France for the majority of her life, Clerc always wanted to represent Madagascar and that she did, becoming the youngest flag bearer at the Olympics for the country, at the age of 16.

“I want to inspire a lot of Africans; I want to inspire all black women as well. I want them to follow their dreams and if they have any chance to do sport or something, they take it and enjoy it,” she said.

Image source: @NewAfricanMagazine

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