A three-woman bobsled team is set to represent Nigeria at the 2018 Winter Olympics. Unlike the charmingly underprepared Jamaican bobsled team that debuted in Calgary in 1988, these women look more like superheroes than underdogs.
The winter games have traditionally been limited to athletes from parts of the world that have a winter season. Snow and a familiarity with winter sports – particularly the high-tech versions that exist these days – is a pretty basic prerequisite for success. But National Olympic Committees from many African countries, including Nigeria, have been looking for creative ways to prepare athletes to compete in more events, particularly the ones with global appeal and lots of medals, like gymnastics and swimming. Everyone, it seems, wants to take credit for launching the next Michael Phelps.
But Seun Adigun, the driver of the bobsled team, thinks winter can work for her. “Together, we can demonstrate that nothing is impossible with a little faith, support, and willingness to persevere,” she told Face2FaceAfrica.
Adigun is also no stranger to sport or the cold. She grew up in Chicago, is a University of Houston graduate and a lifelong track and field athlete. In the 2012 games, she competed in relay and hurdles for Nigeria. Last year, she decided to switch specialties after she watched other runners attempt to extend their Olympic careers with a pivot to the bobsled track.
Adigun, along with teammates Ngozi Onwumere and Akuoma Omeoga, has launched a GoFundMe page to help underwrite their training and supplies, including the actual sled. She’s got a flair for the dramatic. “The fate of Nigeria’s eligibility to be represented in the 2018 Winter Olympics rests exclusively on my ability to qualify as a competent driver,” she wrote on the page.
I’m rooting for her specifically and Nigeria in general. It’s a country of many paradoxes, the wealthiest and most prosperous on the African continent, though still struggling to make itself whole. While Nigerian novelist Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie has become one of the most the most prominent literary voices in the world, the country stares down a humanitarian crisis of epic proportions, thanks to Boko Haram’s terrorist reign in the northeast part of the country. And then there is the ongoing problem of the missing oil revenues.
But, as Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg discovered when he visited the country in September, Nigeria is teeming with tech talent and new ideas worthy of investment. One of his stops was Andela, a talent accelerator which recently closed a $24 million Series B funding round led by the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative, the fund established by Zuckerberg and his wife, Dr. Priscilla Chan. His visit shone a bright light on a sector that could use some international heat.
That the Olympics is an old idea doesn’t detract from the aspirational aspect of Nigeria’s bobsled ambitions, a different kind of investment for a different kind of return. For Adigun, a Chicago girl gone global citizen, there’s no place to go but down. The track, of course.
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|Conservative and liberals on college campuses have long had an uneasy co-existence, but nothing in recent memory compares to the current post-election environment. Students who supported Trump are feeling dismissed and disrespected and are lobbying their administrations for equal time and safe spaces to express their views.|
|New York Times|
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|Students from Texas A&M protested a speech delivered by white nationalist Richard Spencer, who had been filmed at a conference shortly after the presidential election saying “Hail Trump” and encouraging Nazi-like salutes from the audience. “He has made a lot of remarks and promoted chants that hail back to Nazi slogans. This is a campus that sacrificed nearly half of its student body to fight Nazis,” one protester told Reuters. Spencer had been invited to campus by a prominent alumnus who supports the white supremacist movement.|
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|It’s a small but mighty splash for a sport that has a long history of discrimination. USA Swimming, the national governing body for competitive swimming, received the PR News Diversity & Inclusion Campaign Award for creating inclusive swimming education and resource guides for black, LGBT and Latinx populations in both English and Spanish.|
|Swimming World Magazine|
|How to build diverse teams in tech|
|TechBeacon, an information site for techies and developers, has distilled a brilliant list of best practices that can help anyone diagnose and address a monoculture problem in their teams or startup. They offer specific tips for building a diverse talent pipeline, writing better job postings and overhauling your interview techniques. They take no prisoners. “Don’t make the same mistakes that Google and other major companies have been making,” they say. “[A]lgorithm-centric “whiteboard interviews” are bad predictors of real-world development ability.”|
|Watch Shigeru Miyamoto play Super Mario Run and eat cake at the same time|
|Next week, Nintendo will release Super Mario Run for the iPhone and iPad, the first time that the beloved plumber will appear in a game on a non-proprietary device. It’s a huge move for Nintendo, fans and Shigeru Miyamoto, the legendary creator of Donkey Kong, The Legend of Zelda, and of course, the Mario canon. In this charming interview and video, Miyamoto talks about the decision to bring Mario to more players and plays the game while eating cake.|
The Woke Leader
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|NPR reporter Asma Khalid has been called the most vile names imaginable, all in the course of reporting on demographics and politics in 2016. Her specific beat involved traveling the country talking to voters of all stripes at their homes, places of worship, rallies and diners. Typical political reporting stuff. “Through tears, I told [my editor] that if I had known my sheer existence — just the idea of being Muslim — would be a debatable issue in the 2016 election, I would never have signed up to do this job.”|