Philip Boit, Kenya’s first Winter Olympian

March 22, 2018 - 1 Comments

The most famous cross-country skier in Olympic history is a Kenyan. Philip Boit from Eldoret who was Kenya’s first cross-country skier and the first to participate in a Winter Olympics event.

Boit was born into a farming family in Eldoret in western Kenya, home to some of the world’s fastest runners, but when the sportswear company Nike came looking for a runner prepared to train as a cross-country skier, he stepped forward.

Philip Boit and his compatriot Henry Bitok were trained in Finland in order to become competitive skiers. Both were former middle distance runners with no previous skiing experience. Their winter training began in February 1996. Kenya had only one slot for the 1998 Winter Olympics in Nagano, which was taken by Philip Boit, while Henry Bitok finished his skiing career soon afterwards. Boit’s participation in the games gained worldwide media coverage. He finished 92nd and last in the 10-kilometer classic race. The awards for the race were delayed while the winner Bjørn Dæhlie waited for Boit to reach the finish line in order to hug him. The experience was so moving for Boit that he named one of his sons Dæhlie Boit.

In the 2002 Winter Olympics in Salt Lake City Boit finished 64th in the sprint race, beating three competitors. After the Salt Lake City Olympics Boit left competitive skiing again, but came back to participate in the 2006 Winter Olympics in Turin where he finished 92nd in the 15 km Classic, ahead of five fellow competitors. Boit said in a 2006 interview that he was planning to retire after 2010 Winter Olympics to be held in Vancouver.

In 2007, he competed in the World Ski Championships held in Sapporo, Japan, the same country where he started his Olympic career.

Philip Boit of Kenya pauses after the men’s sprint classical competition of the Nordic World Championships at the Sapporo dome in Japan February 22, 2007. REUTERS/ Michael Dalder/File Photo

Boit had planned to retire after the 2010 Winter Olympics. However, he did not meet the requirements needed to start in the Games as he missed the limit by two FIS points. His attempts to qualify for the Olympics had been hampered by illness. After missing the Olympics, Boit decided to continue his career by a year and retire after the 2011 World Championships to be held in Oslo, Norway. Boit finished 42nd during qualification, and therefore was unable to compete in the 15 kilometre classical. His achievement as the first cross-country Kenyan skier cannot go unnoticed as he opened does for the likes of Sabrina Wanjiku Simader who are making headlines abroad in the skiing sports.

He also has been one of Sabrina Wanjiku Simader’s key trainers.

Source: Wikipedia


  • Ngugi wa Thiong’o: An Award-winning Author – MRX Media April 19, 2018 at 3:04 pm

    […] Philip Boit, Kenya’s first Winter Olympian […]


Post A Comment