Lebanese Alpine skier prepares for second Olympics

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Jackie Chamoun‘s home country of Lebanon isn’t the first place that comes to mind when you think of the Winter Olympics. But for the second time, the Alpine skier is representing the country in the Games.

One could assume that Chamoun has had to deal with adversity competing as a female athlete from a conservative part of the world. But as she detailed to NBCOlympics.com’s Joe Battaglia recently, she hasn’t faced that in “more open-minded” Lebanon – although, as Battaglia writes, she isn’t excluded from other obstacles in the country:

First, the season is incredibly short – two and a half months at the longest – meaning domestic training opportunities are limited. And although some slopes are situated at elevations as high as 6,600-feet, the slopes are short and the snow is soft, making it difficult to adequately prepare for the longer, harder race courses in Europe.

“There are many slopes that are longer and steeper on which we could train but it’s forbidden for us because these slopes are private and people who pay to ski like to come and ski on these slopes,” Chamoun said.

Financially, Chamoun said none of the skiers in Lebanon have sponsors so it is up to each individual to pay for their own travel expenses incurred for off-season training camps – she does one per year – and competitions, as well as equipment. Chamoun said she is fortunate to receive Salomon skis from a local ski shop, eliminating one large expense.

For more on Jackie Chamoun, check out her photo spotlight. Also, here’s another slideshow involving more Winter Olympic athletes from non-traditional nations.

Chamoun, who finished 54th in the slalom four years ago at Vancouver, will compete in the same event at Sochi on Feb. 21.

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