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Breaking News Updated 7:30 PM EST Feb 10 2006
"Another of the suspended skiers was Robel Teklemariam who is set to become the first Ethiopian competitor in a Winter Olympics.
Teklemariam, who carried the Ethiopian flag in Friday's opening ceremony, would still be able to race as the 15km classical is scheduled for next Friday, when his suspension would have ended." Reuters
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Ethiopia is being represented for the first time at the Winter Olympics
Robel Teklemariam said he hopes his countrymen's long-distance records on the track will translate into success in the cross-country skiing events.
Teklemariam, who left Ethiopia as a child, says without the financial help of Ethiopians abroad, he would not have made it to February's games in Italy.
He was so determined to compete that he set up a national skiing federation to get the sport recognised for Ethiopia.
Teklemariam, who has been training professionally for three years, took up skiing soon after arriving in the United States at the age of nine.
The 31-year-old says he has not forgotten his roots and speaks Amharic.
"There are two things I absolutely love - besides my family - and that's skiing and Ethiopia," he told the BBC's Fast Track programme.
I'm hitting the peak period for a distance athlete, so it's now or never
He draws much of his inspiration from Ethiopian athletes, who are renowned for their stamina as runners.
"My first and foremost hero is Abebe Bikila, the Ethiopian runner who ran barefoot in Italy and won the gold medal there," he said
Bikila went on to win another Olympic gold in the 1960s and became the first athlete to win two Olympic marathons.
Teklemariam says even if he does not win a medal at the games that open in Turin on Friday, he hopes his appearance there will inspire other Ethiopians - especially those living in colder climes.
"Being a distance sport, a sport for endurance, I think eventually Ethiopians will do pretty well in skiing cross-country down the road."
He is grateful to the many Ethiopians in the diaspora who have supported him over the last three years and to his family, without whom he says could not run the Ethiopian National Skiing Federation.
"I'm hitting the peak period for a distance athlete, so it's now or never," he said.
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Tune in to NBC on Friday Feb 10, 2006 at 8:00 PM EST for the openning ceremony. More at NBC
Ethiopia's Robel Teklemariam waves the Flag during the opening Ceremony in Turin Italy Feb 10 2006
He better enjoy his vacation, and leave his dirty Habesha flag in Turin mountains.
Are we a little bit jealous “Xiyaar” for being mr little nobody.
Robel, you go man, you deserve all the good things that come your direction you worked hard for it.
Tekle, you are the man!! The key to succes is hard working and determination, that’s great. we proud of you, I hope you will be- come the first Ethiopian Medalist on skiing, I wish you good luck sincerly. Go go tekleeeeeeeeeee
Hey dood Jealous Xiyaar. No wonder people say every beautiful flower has insect. You are one of them.
Robel, you are right, we all inspired by father of Ethiopian Sport, Abbe (Abebe Bikila). Robel, you are doing a great job. We wish you all the best bro. One more thing, don’t worry too much about winning or loosing the competition, just try to do your best. You need to relax little bit because it makes you nervous. You know what I mean. More so, you have already reference to your inspiration, for doing well so far, and in that light, you are not real new to any kind of sport. As you said many of your country men and women proven to be the best global athletes and that automatically includes you. So you are the natural part to any competition, any where, and at any time.
My brother! Robel Let the God be always with you!!! I bless you! I pray for you!!! We have always the common home and goal is Ethiopia! Hopefully you deserve to win!!!
Woderful! bravo. Hurra! Wow! Gobez!!! Robel!!!!!!!!!!!!!
I WISH YOU ALL THE BEST. MAY GOD HELPS YOU. THE GOD OF ETHIOPIA BE WITH YOU.
Great, our brother Robel! It is well done.
Hej Hej: Xiyaar,
I smell Shabia here!! No other person can do this whatsoever.
As the saying goes “a journy of a thousand miles starts with one step". Dear brother thanks a million for taking the first step and medal or no medal you are already a winer in our hearts.
Hey xiyaar you got dump brain . you better think the good one.go, go ROBELL you are doing a very good job.
Roble You are making History!!! We are so proud of you!!! We love you and good luck bro!!!
Keep it UP Robel and Good Luck.
Best wishes, Zena
Good luck my brother, wish you the best.
Good luck Robel!
That’s Ethiopian boy!
I personally wish you guidance from God to win a medal.
Hope ‘will see you on TV skiing.
A person like Xiyaar, are not Ethiopians.
These kind of intruders must be the ones commenting negative things about Ethiopia in the past to create problems among peace loving Ethiopians
Give us your 100% effort and we will give you a gold medal in our heart.
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