Aside from the snows of Kilimanjaro, you probably don’t associate Africa with winter weather or winter sports. But three former track stars based in Texas want to change that, reports “CBS This Morning: Saturday” co-host Alex Wagner.
The women are hoping to become the coolest competitors at the 2018 Winter Olympics. They have their sights on the bobsled course in Pyeongchang, South Korea.
Seun Adigun is literally driving the initiative to get a Nigerian women’s team on track. She represented Nigeria in the 2012 Summer Games.
“I kind of had Olympic fever again and so this was 2014 and the Winter Olympics was on and I knew quite a few track and field athletes who had transitioned into the winter sports so I figured, ‘You know, I think I could try this,’” Adigun said.
But Adigun, who is based in Texas, ran into a big obstacle.
“We don’t have a sled right now. We’re trying to get one,” Adigun said.
Since launching a GoFundMe page last month, the team has raised more than $10,000.
In the meantime, Adigun came up with a homemade practice sled called the Mayflower.
“I just went for like two or three days straight, just hammering and drilling and sawing this wooden sled together,” Adigun said.
The story might sound a bit familiar. The tale of the Jamaican bobsled team that overcame long odds to make the 1988 Winter Games was immortalized in the movie “Cool Runnings.”
While Adigun said the movie wasn’t necessarily the inspiration to start a Nigerian bobsled team, the spirit of that Jamaican team is something she hopes to continue.
“These men did something very special. And to be able to have, you know, everyone who’s hearing our story put us on the same line of legacy that these men have created, that’s... that’s really honorable,” Adigun said.
She needs to complete five races on three tracks by next January to qualify for the Olympics. Her two teammates have only practiced on the wooden sled. They haven’t raced on ice yet.