Nigeria’s Akuoma Omeoga and Seun Adigun made history on Tuesday as the first Africans to feature in bobsleigh at the Winter Games.
The duo finished in 52.21 seconds and 52.55 seconds to place 20th (the bottom of the hill) in women’s heats 1 and 2 at the 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Games in South Korea. But the American-born athletes have reason to celebrate as their timing was an improvement on the one from their training heats on Sunday – 52.96 and 53.60.
In heat 1, United States’ Elana Taylor and Lauren Gibbs finished in 50.52 seconds to win Tuesday’s race, followed by Germany’s Mariana Jamaka and Lisa Buckwitz, who ran 50.54 seconds.
United States’ Jamie Poser and Aja Evans placed third with 50.59 seconds. Mariana Jamaka and Lisa Buckwitz won heat 2 with a time of 50.72 seconds while Elana Taylor and Lauren Gibbs took second with a time of 50.81 seconds.
Canada’s Kallie Humphries and Phylicia George came third with a time of 50.88 seconds. Heats 3 and 4 come up on Wednesday, and Akuoma and Seun are expected to put up a strong challenge to reach the podium.
“The Olympic experience is really unique, it’s an experience you can’t really articulate,” Akuoma said. Adding that “Nigerians are incredibly proud and I think one of our goal was to present Nigeria in a positive light. It gives people a reason to celebrate something.”
The brakeman said she was honoured by the frequent comparisons to the film Cool Runnings, which portrayed a fictional account of the Jamaican bobsleigh team’s debut at the 1988 Winter Olympics in Calgary.
“That’s the legacy that we hope to have in 30 years to come,” she said.
Pilot Seun said, “I don’t think it’s hit us how impactful this whole process will be in the long run.” “You don’t have to quantify things by just the result of first place, second place or any time. You can actually quantify it by your ability to be selfless, your ability to drive and your ability to be innovative. This was just meant to be.”
Canada-born US-based Simidele Adeagbo on Friday made history as the first African woman to compete in the skeleton event at the Winter Olympics.