The Nigerian women’s bobsleigh team finished 20th and with the wooden spoon on Wednesday but left with their pride intact after an emotional Olympic debut in the crackpot winter pursuit.
The enthusiastic team of three finished 20th in Pyeongchang, more than seven seconds behind gold medallists Germany.
Nigerian driver Seun Adigun and partner Ngozi Onwumere were ecstatic after a landmark appearance, cheered on by their families and a loud group of Nigerian fans.
“It’s quite amazing, I’m overwhelmed with joy and overwhelmed with the idea of knowing that history was made and we gave everything we had to do it,” said Adigun, after bumping off several walls in a ragged final run.
“This was just one of those days that you can’t really describe,” she added. “Full of all kinds of emotions — full of relief, full of history.”
No African nation has won a winter medal but the Nigeria women plan to try again at the 2022 Beijing Olympics.
“By God’s grace you will see Nigeria in Beijing,” said the Texas-based Adigun, after failing to improve on Tuesday’s personal best.
“We did everything we could. People are super-stoked back in Nigeria. We just pray all of our resilience does foster into some future athletes.”
Onwumere, who was a late replacement after Akuoma Omeoga fell ill overnight, added: “I can only express myself with tears, just because it’s been a long road and finally we’ve completed it. I can only imagine how it is back home in Nigeria.”
The German team of Mariama Jamanka steered her partner Lisa Buckwitz to collect gold in their country’s first success in the event since 2006.