Two Fairview employees are the proud parents of an athlete competing in the 2018 Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang.
Your daughter reaching Olympian status is enough to be proud of, but Angelina and Ikwuagwu Omeoga of the University of Minnesota Medical Center will be watching her compete on a first-of-its-kind team – the Nigerian bobsled team.
“Akuoma ran track at the University of Minnesota in college, and she said that she always did sports for fun, not for the Olympics,” says her dad, a nursing station technician. “So it’s incredible that now she’s in the Olympics, but for a completely different sport.”
Born and raised in Minnesota, Akuoma was living in Houston when a fellow Nigerian-American approached her and another former sprinter with an audacious idea. Why not form a bobsled team despite having no bobsled, no ice to train on and no experience? And why not form a Nigerian bobsled team when the entire continent of Africa had never before sent a team to the Winter Games?
After some convincing, she left her job as a health-care recruiter in 2016 to train full time. Akuoma is one of the two brakemen on the team.
The team built themselves a wooden bobsled that they used indoors at the University of Houston. A GoFundMe campaign netted them some start-up money. Then the world started to take notice.
Here’s a great story about how they landed endorsement deals from Visa and Under Armour, appeared in a commercial for Beats by Dre and danced their booties off on the Ellen show.
Their dreams started coming true when they scored a spot on winter sports’ biggest stage by completing five required races in Canada in November and then staying in the top 40 global rankings as of January.
Now these women will see if they can reach their ultimate goal – an Olympic medal.
“I am ecstatic and excited,” says Akuoma’s mom, a nurse. “Actually, it’s hard to put what I’m feeling into words.”
Her parents are flying out on Saturday to watch the action.
“We’re very, very proud of Akuoma,” says her dad. “We are so excited to go to South Korea and cheer for her.”