Six months ago, Simidele Adeagbo became the first Nigerian Winter Olympian and the first African and Black woman to compete in the sport of Skeleton at the Winter Olympics. She was inspired to do the sport when she discovered that no African or black woman had ever competed in the sports of Skeleton at the Olympics.
Even though she discovered the sport only 100 days to the Olympics, Simidele went for it because she was determined to create change.
In her TEDx Talk about “the power we all have to be change makers,” Simidele shared the two simple questions: ‘Why not me? Why not now?’ that helped her changed the course of history.
She also shares the four life lessons she learnt from the sport of Skeleton.
We are living in a world with opportunities to create change all around us. I never thought that my opportunity to create change would involve going down a Skeleton track in crazy speed, head first. But ironically, Skeleton was actually a master class for change for change makers and it taught me so much.
Firstly, in the sport of Skeleton, you are on the edge of danger and control at any given time. As a change maker, this taught me to expect and appreciate the chaos that comes with creating change while also being strategic.
In the sports of Skeleton, you’re required to go down the track head first and as a change maker, this taught me to confront problems head on while staying focused.
And as I was learning this new sport, I had to go through the learning process which involves painfully hitting the bumping walls down the track. We call this, hits. And hits are to be avoided at all costs because they slow you down. But we know in life, hits are unavoidable, so, I learnt as a change maker that ultimately you have to take the hits no matter how big or small and keep pushing forward.
In the world of Skeleton, you’re going a crazy speed down the track and you’re forced to make decisions in split seconds and a natural reaction is to panic but with more time in the sport, you learn to trust your instincts, relax and just enjoy the ride. This is the ethos (character) that anyone seeking through a change must ultimately embrace.