On Friday, the 9th February at 12 noon (Nigeria time) up to 1bn people around the world watched the Opening Ceremony of the 2018 Winter Olympics in PyeongChang, South Korea. A record number of African athletes will compete, and for the first time ever.
The good news does not stop there: Eight African countries will send 13 athletes to compete! While that may not sound like very many, it’s more than ever before! Look out for our Olympic athletes from Eritrea, Ghana, Kenya, Madagascar, Morocco, Togo, South Africa, and then Nigeria.
So far probably the story that has caught everyone’s imagination the most is the participation of a team of three women from Nigeria (former track and field stars) who have already made history by qualifying to compete for their country in a sport called Bobsleigh (aka Bobsled). They and another female athlete in a sport called Skeleton comprise Nigeria’s first-ever Winter Olympic team, where it’s (almost) never snowed!
About three years ago, Nigeria’s Bobsleigh team were great athletes but had actually never been in a Bobsleigh before, nor had they spent almost any time in snow… Nor did they own a Bobsleigh or any other equipment!
Friends and family helped at first, then they crowdsourced funds online, and finally found a few global brands to support them! Well done!
If you don’t know, Bobsleigh is like motor racing on ice, at speeds that can get up to 200 km per hour… but in a small sleek metal sled, all powered by gravity (and the strength and agility of the driver and her team)!
Technically, these are about the fastest Africans ever, and they are women! In a big way, this clearly amps the believe that our daughters can do anything they want to do!
Nigeria and the rest of Africa are going to be following the progress of these and other world beating #LionessRoar women in the next few weeks!
We urge every African father to sit with his daughters and watch these young women race against the world.
Let’s tell your daughters: “Yes, you can do anything you want!”. Ditto for ourselves!
Watching our people try out new things, blazing new trails and particularly things we were not previously exposed to, is just so amazing rom behold. This in fact, is stuff off the famed entrepreneurial mindset every aspiring individual is advised to possess.
A mindset that means you are not afraid to try something new, or afraid of being embarrassed or ridiculed. Our Nigerian bobsleigh team appeared on some talk shows recently, including the Ellen DeGeneres Show, and have admitted to the world that it can be “terrifying” to race in that bobsleigh…
But they didn’t let fear get in their way! And look where they are today. You, too, can make history if you set your mind to it.
Original text by Strive Masiyiwa
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