Meet Simidele Adeagbo: The Nigerian Set on Breaking Barriers in Winter Sports
Nigeria’s Simidele Adeagbo successfully completed her 5th qualifying race with a 3rd place finish qualifying her to represent Nigeria in the Winter Olympics and will also become the first female African Skeleton athlete to compete in the Winter Olympics.
“He did it effortlessly for me, what I thought was impossible; he did it effortlessly for me. Thank you Jesus for this amazing blessing & plan for my life!” Adeagbo posted on Instagram.
Born in Toronto to Nigerian parents, Adeagbo lived in Nigeria from when she was an infant to 6 years old. Her sport however was never skeleton, it was triple jump. In fact, she is the four-time NCAA All American and triple jump record holder for the University of Kentucky. Her dream of becoming an Olympian was not realized when she fell short — by eight inches. She decided she was going to hung up her spikes and be a regular person who worked and stayed in shape.
Dreams do come true!
When Adeagbo quit triple jump, the last thing she imagined was taking part in Olympics. “When I retired from track and field, I didn’t expect that I would have a second chance at the Olympics — and I would have never thought that I’d be a winter Olympian,” she says. “But when I saw the article about the bobsled ladies, it wasn’t so much my personal Olympic dreams that grabbed me; it was more of the meaningful nature of what they were trying to accomplish that really inspired me.”
The article had featured only three women and knowing that the sport requires four, she sent them a message. “I’m super excited by what you’re doing and I am cheering you on. I noticed you only had three people. Are you looking for another teammate?” The women replied to her, letting her know that bobsled is a four-person sport for men, but it’s a two-person sport for women. They had their team.
That, however, did not deter her from trying her luck when the Nigerian Bobsled and Skeleton Federation announced tryouts in Houston, Texas in July 2017. “I thought, ‘You know what? I’ll never know if I don’t go.” She says. She got the call she had hoped for a few weeks later inviting her into the camp in Canada.
Less than a year since she first touched a skeleton sled, the Nigerian is currently ranked 84th in the world and is well on her way to making history and also realize her long- time dream of being an Olympian.
“Ultimately, for me, this is about breaking barriers in winter sports. It’s about making history and leaving a legacy. It’s about moving sport forward,” Adeagbo says. “That’s so much bigger than just me being an Olympian.”
image: getty images