No snow? No problem, say three Nigerian track stars who are hoping to follow in the footsteps of Jamaica’s famous bobsled team and field one of their own in time for the 2018 Winter Olympics in PyeongChang, South Korea.
“I kind of had Olympic fever again,” Seun Adigun told CBS News in an interview that aired Saturday morning.
The sprinter, who competed for Nigeria in the 2012 Summer Olympics in London, said she got the idea while watching the the 2014 Olympics and saw former track and field athletes who had transitioned to winter sports.
“I figured, you know, I think I can try this,” said Adigun, who now lives in Texas.
And so she found two fellow Nigerian sprinters, Ngozi Onwumere and Akuoma Omeoga, and formed the trio that finds itself very much following in the footsteps of what the famed Jamaican bobsled team accomplished nearly 30 years ago.
Adigun, Onwumere and Omeoga are even practicing on a makeshift wooden sled, like the one depicted in “Cool Runnings.”
“I just went for two or three days straight, just hammering and drilling and sawing this wooden sled together,” said Adigun, who called comparisons to the Jamaican team that competed at the 2008 Olympics in Calgary “honorable.”
Adigun’s wooden sled, dubbed “the Mayflower,” is making do until the team can raise the money to acquire a real one, which it will need to race five times on three different tracks to qualify for the 2018 Olympics.
To fund their efforts, the trio last month set up a GoFundMe page, which had raised nearly $12,000 of their stated $150,000 goal as of Saturday afternoon. While there’s still a long way to go to reach their monetary goal, the team has already earned the support of Nigeria’s Olympic Committee.
“The first vice president, Chief Solomon Ogba, has played a very important role in helping us get set up and acquiring the full support of the remaining NOC executive members,” Adigun told BuzzFeed News last week. “We are actually very blessed at Nigeria’s initiative as a unit in supporting something that has never been done before.”
CREDITS: This article is written by Marissa Payne. She writes for The Early Lead, where she focuses on what she calls the “cultural anthropological” side of sports, a.k.a. “mostly the fun stuff.”