Simidele Adeagbo

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Similar to a bobsled team, Nigeria has never had a skeleton racer to represent them in the Winter Olympics. Until now. Simi Adeagbo practiced the winter sliding sport for all of four months before qualifying to compete in this year’s Winter Olympics. She finished in 20th place after four heats, and blew open a door for African women in winter sports. But although her success seems quick, it was anything but easy. She was raised with a strong work ethic and that foundation combined with her desire to be the best, shaped her into the dedicated athlete she is today. We caught up with Adeagbo before the games and shared that she’s been a lifelong competitor and always dreamed of becoming an Olympian. She’s played softball, volleyball, field hockey, basketball, and ran cross country and track. When it came to early inspiration she looked to fellow athletes such as Serena Williams, who was “blazing a trail in a sport where many people didn’t look like her.”

Currently she cites marketing and branding executive Bozoma St. John and actress, writer, director and producer Issa Rae as motivators for “unapologetically creating the future and using their gifts to make significant contributions and leave a legacy.” She’s definitely following in their footsteps. "Ultimately, my journey is about breaking down barriers for future generations of athletes—especially young women everywhere—who are watching athletes like me push the limits through sport during the Games," says Adeagbo. “It’s time for us to redefine Africa and create the future.” Passionate about the Women’s Movement, Adeagbo defines a powerful woman as strong, smart, vivacious, courageous, beautiful and ambitious. When it comes to community building among African women, she believes there is strength in numbers. “With the many challenges facing African women, it's important that we support each other and lift each other up. We are a powerful force when we work together.” The soundtrack to her life right now? “This Girl is on Fire by Alicia Keys because... I am firing on all cylinders.”