Seun Adigun launched a GoFundMe page in 2016 to help finance an outlandish Olympic pursuit: Start a women’s bobsled team in Nigeria, a country with a sub-Saharan climate, and become the first team from Africa to compete in the sport at the 2018 Winter Games in PyeongChang, South Korea.
Like a character out of Cool Runnings—the movie that chronicled the Jamaican bobsled team’s longshot journey to the 1988 Olympics—Adigun, 31, handcrafted a wooden training sled named the Maeflower, after her stepsister who died in a car accident in 2009 (her nickname was Mae Mae). Adigun depleted her savings while teammates Akuoma Omeoga, 25, and Ngozi Onwumere, 26, who are pushers on the Nigerian bobsled team, put white-collar careers on hold to slide around icy curves at 80 miles per hour.
When Adigun, who in December earned a masters degree in exercise and health sciences and became a doctor of chiropractic, pitched Nigerian sports officials about starting a bobsled federation, they seemed a bit bewildered. “You don’t even have to be in Nigeria to be confused as to why three Nigerians who live in Texas are competing in the sport of bobsled,” she says. Read more