Olympics Preview The New Bobsled Cinderella: Nigeria, The Return of Lindsey Vonn, and 18-year-old Figure-Skating Star Nathan Chen

Joe Kitz, Sports Editor

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Since 1988, Jamaica has been represented by a bobsled team at the Olympics (except for 2006 and 2010), and each time, they garner international attraction, whether they place well or not. The woman’s Jamaican bobsled team will be joined by a new sensation: the Nigerian Bobsled Team. Not only is the Nigerian bobsled team the first in its country, but it is the first team ever to represent any African country in the bobsled event.

Seun Adigun, the team’s captain, competed in the 2012 Summer Olympics as a sprinter, and after watching the 2014 Winter, Olympics, caught the “Olympics fever again.” She then successfully tried out for Team USA, only to realize a year later that Nigeria never had any man or woman compete for an African country in the bobsled event. She then took it upon herself to craft a bobsled out of wood, modeling it after the one Seun had used to train briefly with Team USA. The team of Seun Adigun and two of her track and field friends from the Houston area (Ngozi Onwumere and Akuoma Omeoga) joined the team, and they train in Houston, in addition to some practice runs up in Lake Placid. After Adigun decided to take up the sport, her family was slightly less enthusiastic: “They were like ‘wait a minute – bobsled, like the winter sport? You live in Texas where it’s hot, your family and you are from Nigeria. But you’re going to be playing in snow?’’ Although this sport is evidently quite a risky endeavor, and her family disapproves, she says she has absolutely no regrets in her decision, and that the team is competing to proudly represent their fellow Nigerians.

Despite not having competed in the 2014 Olympics due to a knee injury, Lindsey Vonn looks to make a strong return for Team USA in the Alpine Skiing event. Despite being in the waning days of her skiing career at 33 years of age, she remains the favorite to win. Over her career, she has suffered a myriad of injuries, including a concussion, broken bones, shredded ligaments in her legs, and even slicing her thumb while opening a bottle of champagne in celebration of her gold-medal run at a world championships event. These injuries, representative of her audacious tenacity and thirst for competition even at the likelihood of sacrificing her body, and as her physical therapist, “With each injury she’s had, she’s learned something about herself and her body. I believe she’s a better athlete for it.”

At just 18 years old, Nathan Chen has emerged as a budding star in the signature event of the Winter Olympics, figure skating. He had a convincing win recently at the national championships in San Jose last month at the 2018 Figure Skating Championships. He won my a 40.72 margin, which is unprecedented for a sport where winners see margins of merely hundreds of points. In fact, he has remained undefeated in the entire 2017-2018 season and remains the favorite to win gold in Pyeongchang.

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Olympics Preview The New Bobsled Cinderella: Nigeria, The Return of Lindsey Vonn, and 18-year-old Figure-Skating Star Nathan Chen