Nigeria’s First Winter Olympian Brings Winter To Lagos

She’d done the improbable last year when along with Ngozi Onwumere and Akuoma Omeoga, Seun Adigun made history to become Nigeria’s and Africa’s first-ever women’s Bobsled and Skeleton team at a Winter Olympics.

Just reading that sentence shows how improbable the whole thing is. Nigeria? Winter Olympics?

Rain? yes. Sun? Plenty. Snow? Never. The novelty of it all in the lead up to Pyeong Chang 2018 gripped the world’s media and they featured in global headlines even making an unforgettable appearance in the Ellen Degeneres show.

She didn’t set out to create the global interest the team eventually attracted but Adigun always believed that the movement she started could blossom into something a lot bigger than she envisaged.

“I did know that something special was happening and I felt it in my spirit that I was basically being used for a larger purpose than myself,” she says.

That larger purpose has now led to the creation of the Bobsled and Skeleton Federation of Nigeria which seeks to give the sport a proper grounding in the country and make Nigerians much more familiar with a sport few have heard of.

Football is King in Nigeria as it is across most of Africa and traditionally, even much more established sports still struggle for attention and funding under the shadow of the round leather game but Adigun believes that the following generated by the team during the 2018 Winter Games shows Nigerians already are interested and the next step is to get them involved in the sport.

“To be honest I think, Nigerians are already interested after seeing what happened in the buildup in the journey to the 2018 winter Olympic games and the sense of pride that happened when Nigerians witnessed us being the first-ever to do it in Africa.

“I think at that point the interest was already established. I think at this point now its more about getting them involved than getting them interested,” she says.

And having shown that Nigeria can compete at the Winter Olympics, Adigun, the leader and driver of the team believes the time is now ripe for athletes based in Nigeria to join the Federation and complement the Bobsled and Skeleton team which until now has been foreign based.

So the BSF are organising the first-ever Bobsled try out/combine in Nigeria today at the National Stadium, Surelere to get suitable athletes for the bobsled and skeleton team ahead of the 2023 Winter Games.

Adigun has recruited Akwasi Frimpong to help select athletes based on three skills – 40m sprint, Standing Broad/Long Jump, and Shot Put throw between the legs forward.

“The athletes we are targetting are the athletes who are naturally bred from the country such as explosive athletes,” she says.

“Most times the athletes come from a track and field background or American Football background or a rugby background for the men.

“As you have power, speed, strength you have resilience, also you’ve got to have a lot of heart because it is very difficult to focus and concentrate when you are trying to compete in subzero temperatures.”

While the physical and psychological characteristics of prospective new members of the bobsled and skeleton team are very important, Adigun says athletes looking to join must possess a sense of purpose that transcends monetary considerations.

“So, we are really looking for people who understand the ability to be selfless and who understand that when you get into a sport like this it’s not about the money.

“It’s about the opportunity to represent and to ingrain in others our core values of integrity innovation commitment and community.”