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Eastern High School, UK grad looking to make Olympic history again

Updated: Sep. 9, 2021 at 3:50 PM EDT
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LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WAVE) - Even though the Summer Olympic Games just ended recently in Tokyo, the 2022 Winter Olympics in Beijing are just five months away.

The Games begin Feb. 4, and a graduate of Louisville’s Eastern High School and the University of Kentucky is not only training hard right now, she’s also looking to make history again.

At speeds of 80 miles per hour, Simidele “Simi” Adeagbo’s accomplishments in 2018 were impossible to forget. With speed and power in her wheelhouse, Adeagbo became the first black woman to compete in Olympic Skeleton and the first Nigerian woman to ever qualify.

Now?

“Well, you know,” she laughed, “I like to make history.”

Adeagbo is ready for another Olympic first.

“There was a brand-new sport that has been introduced,” she explained, “and is making its debut at the Beijing Olympics, a one-woman bobsled.”

In the skeleton competition four years ago, Adeagbo only had 100 days to get ready.

“I didn’t have much time to prepare; now I’m in a different space,” she said.

The biggest hurdle to bobsledding is the cost, especially when you’re primarily self-funded, as Adeagbo is.

“It’s expensive to do a sport like bobsled and skeleton,” she said. “I saw a commercial the other day for a Mercedes Benz and the starting price of the Mercedes Benz was about the same price as what it costs to get a bobsled.

“In the last six months of my journey, I’ve reached out and I’ve created a GoFundMe campaign because I need help.”

The other challenge: Training off ice during the off season and in a pandemic.

“I’ve had to find parks and tracks and all kinds of places to train,” she said.

Despite it all, she’s excited after seeing what happened in Tokyo.

“Just watching the athletes, everything that they went through to make it through that delay of a year, which might not seem like a long time for people, but in the world of an Olympic athlete, a year is an eternity,” Adeagbo said.

That perservence without support from family or crowds was inspiring, she said.

“It’s really about going there and focusing on what I can control and the rest will be whatever it is,” Adeagbo said.

Qualification begins in October. While Adeagbo has plenty of support from Kentucky coaches and former teachers, you can help her by contributing to her GoFundMe campaign by Sept. 12.

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