Feel the Rhythm! Feel the Rhyme! Move over, Jamaica. It’s Nigeria’s bobsled time!
That’s right. Three women have made history by becoming the first bobsled team from Africa to compete in the Winter Olympics. This comes 30 years after the men’s bobsled team from Jamaica stunned the world by being the first team from a tropical nation to contend in a winter sport on the world’s stage.
It’s the real-life version of the 1993 comedy Cool Runnings, only these ladies aren’t joking around. They’re there to earn some hardware.
Former sprinters Seun Adigun, Ngozi Onwumere, and Akuoma Omeoga punched their ticket to Pyeongchang, South Korea after completing their fifth qualifying race in Calgary on Wednesday to not only become the first bobsled team from Africa to represent their continent at the Winter Olympics, but to be the first winter Olympians, male or female, from Nigeria to compete in the Games.
Congrats to former @UHCougarTF star Seun Adigun and her Nigerian Bobsed teammates…first bobsled team from Africa, male or female, to qualify for the Winter Olympics. Fantastic! pic.twitter.com/AWgxoyQdvM
— Daniel Gotera (@DTGoteraKHOU) November 16, 2017
“This is a huge milestone for sports in Nigeria,” driver Adigun told KweséESPN report. “Nothing makes me prouder than to know that I can play a small role in creating opportunities for winter sports to take place in Nigeria.”
No snow? No problem. The team started by building their own sled out of wood they bought at the local hardware store, and named it “The Mayflower,” according to CBC.
So, who are these groundbreaking women?
Seun Adigun, 30, was born in Chicago, but has dual Nigerian-American citizenship. She ran track at the University of Houston and went on to represent Nigeria at the 2012 Olympic Games in London, competing in the 100-meter hurdles.
“We are from a continent that would never imagine sliding down ice at 80 or 90 miles per hour,” Adigun told the BBC in March. “The idea of getting people to take to that in itself is empowering.”
Ngozi Onwumere, 25, won gold as part of the 4×100-meter relay team at the All-Africa Games in 2015. In the same competition, also took home silver in the 200-meter.
Akuoma Omeoga, 25, ran track at the University of Minnesota, where in her last season, she posted career-best times in the 55-meter (7.33 seconds) and the 60-meter (7.73 seconds).
Meet the first Nigeria Women’s Bobsled Team:
Seun Adigun (Driver) rep’d Nigeria in 100mH at London 2012, began training for bobsled in 2014
Ngozi Onwumere (Breakmen) won a Silver & Gold medal at the 2015 AAG
Akuoma Omeoga (Breakmen) will be representing Nigeria for first time pic.twitter.com/QFqeFRZ5So
— Lolade Adewuyi (@Jololade) November 15, 2017
The team began training in 2016, and thanks to Adigun’s fundraising efforts, raising $75,000 for things like an actual bobsled, ice time, travel expenses, athlete insurance and competition gear, they were able to make their dream a reality.
Here’s more on this team that I don’t know about you, but I can’t help but root for.