The PyeongChang 2018 Winter Olympic Games has officially begun and the much anticipated Nigerian Bobsled and Skeleton team made their debut last Friday, 9th February 2018 at the Games’ Opening Ceremony in South Korea with the team’s Ngozi Onwumere flying the country’s flag sky high, and proud.
The excitement and pride has been through the roof since they qualified for the Bobsled and Skeleton category back in November 2017 and January 2018 respectively, and people all over are ecstatic about Nigeria’s Winter Olympic dreams coming true.
Reminiscent of the story of the Jamaican Bobsled team portrayed in the film “Cool Runnings”, the Nigerian Bobsledders, Seun Adigun, Ngozi Onwumere, and Akuoma Omeoga are the first bobsled team to represent Nigeria and the history-making Simidele Adeagbo, the country and Africa’s first ever female Skeleton at the Winter Olympic Games in Pyeongchang.
Simidele Adeagbo, who is the first ever African athlete to place in the top 3 in her qualifying races said on her website: “Ultimately, for me, this is about breaking barriers in sports. It’s about making history. And leaving a legacy. It’s about moving sport forward.”
This year’s Games sees more athletes competing than ever before, and more countries represented than ever before – 92 in total – making this Winter Olympic Games one to remember, and this would be Nigeria’s largest representation yet at the Winter Olympics.
Adeagbo also added: “This will open doors and unlock the potential of future generations of athletes.”
The ladies’ dreams coming true has inspired others in Nigeria and people in other African countries to start conversations about the potential and opportunities Africans have in competing in future Winter Games and in sports considered ‘out of the ordinary’ for Africans like Bobsled and Skeleton.
They are self-starters of winter sports in Nigeria and their hard work came with great rewards. In making this a reality, Adigun and her team successfully raised $75,000, meeting their target and even garnered the interests of brands like Beats by Dre., Under Armour, Visa and KLM who flew them to the games in Pyeongchang, South Korea.
President Buhari said in a statement: “Your patriotism, sacrifice, hard work and personal dedication in choosing to stand with our homeland and lift our flag high at the Pyeonchang Olympic Stadium in South Korea, will continue to inspire Nigerians, especially the young people.”
Their success in making it to the Winter Olympics has also created awareness of winter sports in Nigeria since their team’s chosen sports would usually be overlooked in the country and the rest of Africa.
With a whole country, President Buhari, fellow Africans, family, friends and corporate Nigeria supporting them either present at the Winter Games or from a distance, these ladies are bound to make their country and all Africans proud. We wish Team Nigeria all the best at the PyeongChang 2018 Winter Olympics.
The Women’s Bobsled events are scheduled to take place from the 17th of February, 2018 to the 21st of February, 2018.
The Skeleton events are scheduled to take place from 12th of February 2018 to the 17th of February 2018.