Minnesota Woman Makes History for Nigeria at Winter Olympics
Akuoma Omeoga may be a proud native of St. Paul and graduate of the U of M, but it's because of her Nigerian descent that she's making history at the 2018 Winter Olympics as part of Nigeria's first ever Bobsleigh team.
According to GoMN, Akuoma graduated from Irondale High School in the Twin Cities in 2010 and ran track at the U of M from 2011-2014. She moved from Minnesota to Texas in 2016 with "no job, no friends, no family." It was scary, she says, but she was ready for a change. She didn't think she was done with sports, either. According to her Olympics bio:
"After college I told myself I would pick up a new sport, you know, something Nigerians do, like play soccer. I never thought it would be Bobsled. I am challenging myself to take risks and experience something new."
Shortly after moving to Houston, she was introduced to her current bobsleigh teammate Seun Adigun. Seun told Akuoma that she was creating "a [Nigerian] bobsled federation" and asked Akuoma to be a part of it. Together with her three other teammates, Akuoma made history with a qualifying time of 52.21 seconds -- the first time a Nigerian or any other African country has competed in bobsled at the Winter Olympics. The story sounds a lot like another we all know and love -- Cool Runnings, the story of of Jamaica's first bobsled team.
While they're not expected to take home any medals, Akuoma and her teammates are competing for more -- to be role models.
It's all about challenging yourself and taking things as they come. Be open to giving yourself chances rather than attempting it once before deciding you can't do something."