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Off the Pitch: A Spotlight on the Winter Olympics

By  Abraham Oluwatunmise (@OluwatunmiseAOF)

The Winter Olympics has been held once every four years since 1924. It is the abridged version of the largest gathering of sports events, the summer Olympics. Winter Olympics was designed for sports practiced on snow and ice.

Historically, the 1924 edition was held in Chamonix, France. It originally featured five sports (and nine disciplines). This include bobsleigh, curling, ice hockey, Nodii Skiing and skating. In recent times, more sports and disciplines such as Alpine skiing, luge, freestyle skiing, skeleton and skateboarding have been added.

As of 2017, 12 countries- Austria, Canada, Finland, France, Great Britain, Hungary, Italy, Norway, Poland, Sweden, Switzerland and the United States – have earned medals at every Winter Olympics games.

Interestingly, Nigeria’s flag has never been hoisted at the Winter Games. It has seemingly not been a concern to any Sport administrator, fan or analyst. However, a group of young ladies who reside in the USA, aware of the situation back home, embarked on a relative mission impossible all on their own and ensured that a distant dream becomes a reality.

Seun Adigun championed this cause and led the duo of Ngozi Onwumere and Akuoma Omeoga in becoming the first African bobsleigh team in Winter Olympic history. They were not supported by the Nigerian government but they made history through sheer determination.

They shuffled between rigorous training through qualification and raising funds on their own. The trio qualified for an event which has no Federation responsible for it in their home nation. We don’t even know the nature. We all watched their zeal in awe.

This feat made 36-year old former track athlete Simidele Adeagbo to compete and qualify for the Skeleton event thereby making it four Nigerians at the biggest Winter Sports events.

I do not know the rules of either skeleton or bobsleigh. But I will be watching with keen interest and will be cheering the loudest whenever the Green-White-Green flag is raised in PyeongChang, South Korea to support my compatriots who have put their ethnic, cultural and political differences aside and have ensured a difficult task was carried out successfully without the assistance or help of the Nigerian government.

These ladies, no matter the result at the Games, are national heroes. They are my heroes.

As they take the world stage to represent us, the good people of Nigeria, from 9th – 25th February, we should remember that no excuse is permitted for failing in life. We can take a cue from their doggedness and forge ahead in life as person and a nation.

Author: For The Goal

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