tw is committed to celebrating the achievements and wins of inspiring women and this week, we are crushing on a team of fearless women, pushing beyond the borders of impossibilities and flying the Nigerian flag high. They are God-fearing; they are goal oriented and they take pride in conquering the fear of the unknown, they are the first ever Bobsled team to represent Nigeria in the Olympics. Read their story below.
tw: How did you meet and why did you decide to come together to form a bobsled team?
Seun: I recruited both Ngozi and Akuoma to be my brakemen on this bobsled team for Nigeria after I moved to the driver seat in the fall of 2016. I took this project on after spending a year as a brakeman on Team USA and learning that the sport was looking to grow and incorporate more women’s teams into the competitive stage. Additionally, I learned that Nigeria was looking for its first class of Winter Olympians and the continent of Africa had never been represented in the sport of bobsled by any man or woman. At that point, my participation in the sport had grown to be much larger than me and I had the discussion with the other two ladies. I had known Ngozi as one of the first track & field athletes that I helped recruit to the University of Houston while I was an assistant coach there. Akuoma, was a young lady I had met through a mutual friend just a few months before asking her to join the team, when she moved to Houston.
tw: Would you say the support you have received so far has been amazing? And how can Nigerians do more to support.
Ngozi: The support has been overwhelming (in a good way). It’s amazing to see our Naija people happy to support us! Just shows we are one and when we win, everyone wins. It’s been just a great feeling to see all the positive feedback. We also have some really great sponsors, which have been a crucial part of our success and journey. (Visa, UA, Lazer helmets and so many more)
tw: What is in the future for you ladies? (Personal and career wise)?:
Ngozi: The unique aspect about our situation is that we all come from different walks of life but came together for a common goal and this will ring true after this experience. I think overall Bobsled and representing Nigeria as well as Africa has taught us in one way or another to be fearless. Often times, we minimize our dreams because they seem too big or feel as though our dreams aren’t and can’t be a reality but it’s essential to know dreams become reality with action. So in short, personally I don’t know what the future holds and that’s the scariest as well as best part, but I do know I will chose to live unapologetically in my truth and go after what makes not only me happy but has a bigger purpose. As well as continue to create music.
tw: What does being a todayz woman mean to you?:
Ngozi: to me, being a todayz woman means resetting finish lines, being innovative and creating your own path. The days of having “female roles” are over, and I hope moving forward women will be encouraged to be nothing short of what they would like to be. Being a woman to me, means STRENGTH, INNOVATION, and lastly beating to your own drum.
tw: Can you share a word of advice with other women?
Ngozi: Whatever you want to do, plan, be fearless and execute. You never know, the first step can make the next couple easier. Even if not easier, your vision to the path you would like to take, clearer. I tell myself this every day, if someone like me who is deathly afraid of roller coasters can do Bobsled , I can do anything and you can too, with faith and hard work.
Akuoma: We have faced the challenge of stepping into unfamiliar territory. Our first challenge of course stemmed from starting a federation in a sport in which there really wasn’t that much information about. Then imagine coming with minimal information and presenting it to people who have never heard about the sport at all. With all that being said, tackling the learning curve has been the greatest challenge of all. We have managed to work through that by working smarter and not harder. We have been able to utilize our efforts in a very collaborative manner which has made this journey a lot easier.
NOTE: Bobsled is a winter sport in which teams of two or four teammates make timed runs down narrow, twisting, banked, iced tracks in a gravity-powered sled. The timed runs are combined to calculate the final score.