There is no denying that the Winter Olympics are usually dominated by countries with colder climates.
It makes a lot of sense, considering winter sports rely on things like snow and ice to even exist. After all, you can’t downhill ski without snow, or ice skate without ice.
That’s why nations like Germany, Russia, Norway, and the United States have the largest collection of Winter Olympic medals, according to TheRichest.com.
Colder places might have the advantage, but that doesn’t mean that athletes from countries with warmer weather don’t try to join in on the fun.
This week, the Nigerian women’s bobsled team made history by qualifying for the 2018 Winter Olympics in South Korea, scheduled to take place in February. The team is the first bobsled team from Africa to ever qualify.
The story may sound similar to the plot of the classic Disney movie Cool Runnings, about the formation of Jamaica’s first bobsled team. Only this time, it’s the real deal.
[H/T: ABC News]
The three-member team is made up of driver Seun Adigun and brakemen Ngozi Onwumere and Akuoma Omega.
The team only began training in 2016, which makes their accomplishment all the more impressive. Most Olympic athletes train for years, or even their entire lives.
The team competed in a series of qualifying races in North America over the past few weeks.
It won’t be bobsled driver Seun Adigun’s first Olympic appearance, though: She competed in the 2012 Summer Olympics in the 100-meter hurdles.
However, it will be her first time competing in the winter.
Her track-and-field background will come in handy for this sport, which is considered both technical and high risk.
The power for the bobsled run all comes from the team pushing the sled off during the very beginning of the race.
The team was able to raise enough money to make this incredible achievement happen thanks to a GoFundMe account, where they collected $75,000 in just over a year.
People were happy to donate to help the women and Nigeria reach this milestone.
Needless to say, Nigeria isn’t exactly a hotbed for winter sports or bobsledding.
Located just north of the equator, the climate is considered to be very tropical.
The only precipitation Nigeria sees is not of the frozen variety, but rather monsoons during the rainy season from June to September, according to ClimatestoTravel.com.
Since Nigeria isn’t a natural fit to support bobsledding, the team needed to start from scratch.
With the help of donors, they were able to get all of the gear and associated expenses for things like ice, and especially transportation and shipping costs.
Seun told ESPN that qualifying was a “huge milestone for sports in Nigeria.”
She and her teammates hope it inspires other Nigerians to open their minds to winter sports.
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