Simidele Adeagbo, a former track star at the University of Kentucky, made Winter Olympics history this weekend as the Nigeria native became the first African female athlete to compete in skeleton.
“Competing in the Olympics has been one of the most inspiring and proudest moments of my life,” Adeagbo said on her website. “It was a dream that started a long time ago and to be able fulfill that dream for myself, for Nigeria, and for future Olympians was so much more than I could have asked for.”
Adeagbo was one of four Nigerians who competed in the Pyeongchang Winter Olympics. It’s the first year Nigeria has sent athletes to the winter games.
Adeagbo finished in last place with a combined time of 3:36.78, but even qualifying was a significant accomplishment as she first touched a skeleton sled last September. It seemed much more likely that her Olympic path would be through track and field.
Adeagbo was a four-time All-American at Kentucky. She still holds the school record in the outdoor triple jump (44 feet/5 inch). She narrowly missed a spot on the 2008 U.S. Olympic team in the triple jump.
Adeagbo graduated from Kentucky in 2003.
“Ultimately, for me, this is about breaking barriers in sports,” Adeagbo said. “It’s about making history and leaving a legacy. It’s about moving sport forward. That’s so much bigger than just me being an Olympian. This will open doors and unlock the potential of future generations of athletes.”
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