02 Sep 2020
After making history in the skeleton at the Olympic Winter Games just 100 days after taking up the sport, Nigerian trailblazer Simidele Adeagbo is now inspiring people around the world by sharing her “transformational blueprint” through the Olympian & Paralympian Online Experiences available on Worldwide Olympic Partner Airbnb’s platform.
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When Simidele Adeagbo missed out on qualifying for the triple jump at the Olympic Games Beijing 2008 by a matter of inches, her dream of becoming an Olympian seemed over.
Fast forward a little under 10 years, however, and the Nigerian had swapped the take-off board and sandpit for a sled and what she describes as “a frozen water slide”, as she made history by becoming the first African and first black woman to compete in skeleton at the Olympic Winter Games.
But her journey to PyeongChang 2018 as a skeleton racer did not take 10 years; in fact, it only took 100 days.
“I started as a track and field athlete, and that was my original Olympic dream,” explains the 39-year-old. “I competed in the triple jump and I worked so hard for so many years and I came really close to making the 2008 Olympic team but just missed it by a couple inches. So, I took some time away from sport and then fast forward 10 years and I had the opportunity to reimagine my Olympic dream when I ended up discovering skeleton. I found out that no African or black woman had ever competed in Olympic skeleton and I was super excited about that opportunity, so decided to take action. And then, in the course of about 100 days, I found myself picking up this new sport, learning it and doing enough to qualify for the PyeongChang Games, racing there and making history.”
Having reimagined her Olympic dream and turned it into reality in a matter of months, despite having no prior experience in the sport of skeleton, Adeagbo is now sharing her story and her “transformational blueprint” with people all over the world through the Olympian & Paralympian Online Experiences available on Worldwide Olympic Partner Airbnb’s platform.
“When I reflected back on my Olympic story, at the heart of that is really a story about reinvention,” she explains. “I felt like this was a powerful message that I wanted to share with people; explaining exactly what happened in those 100 days, how I navigated the changes that I had to encounter going from a triple jumper to then picking up this sport of skeleton, the resilience that I had to endure along the way and just sharing the lessons I learned. And so, my Experience is just all about that; how I can not only inspire people through my story but enable them and empower them to know that they can reinvent themselves in whatever ways that they want to, as well.”
Guests on the Airbnb platform are able to join Adeagbo for a one-hour video call in which she relives her Olympic journey and shares her advice for those also looking to transform their lives for the better, encouraging them to overcome their fears and doubts. And with the world still coming to terms with the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, Adeagbo believes there has never been a better time to reimagine our own personal futures.
“Given the uncertain times, I know that a lot of people are in this moment where they're unsure about what the future looks like,” she explains. “And what I want to do is inspire people to just think about all of the possibilities, all of the things that could be. And so, we connect, we reflect, and we really think about how we can create the future. My Experience is all about unlocking our potential, helping us navigate change, helping us build resilience and helping us think about all of the possibilities that could be ahead of us.”
Adeagbo’s 100-day journey from skeleton novice to Olympic history-maker is certainly unique and undoubtedly inspirational, but she believes that all Olympians have the power to inspire others and is excited that athletes like her are now able to connect with people all over the world thanks to the Olympian & Paralympian Online Experiences offered through Airbnb and the IOC.
“Being able to share your passion, your expertise, and then the connection is a really important part,” she explains. “This platform helps you connect directly with your fans and gives them access to an Olympian. And I think a lot of the guests that I've had, they find it really valuable to be able to directly connect with an Olympic athlete. That's something that doesn't normally happen every day. And so that's the exciting opportunity. And you're doing that in an authentic way, helping them be better people, helping them be inspired and build the future that they want to see. That's really exciting.”
And if anyone was in any doubt about what they might gain from joining Adeagbo for her “Art of Reinvention” masterclass, she has a simple message for them.
“If you're in a space where you are thinking about navigating change, perhaps reimagining a dream, this is the experience for you,” she says. “You're going to learn how to be tenacious. You're going to learn how to be bold, and you're going to learn how to believe in yourself and your dream and trust your instincts and take things to the next level.”
Join us for a festival of Olympian & Paralympian Online Experiences, featuring Allyson Felix, Naomi Osaka, Lex Gillette and more.— Airbnb (@Airbnb) July 17, 2020
❤️ this tweet to be reminded when experiences are available to book, starting July 22nd pic.twitter.com/41RZkBtylC
OLYMPIAN & PARALYMPIAN EXPERIENCES
With communities around the world staying at home to protect their own health and the health of others, Olympian & Paralympian Online Experiences developed with Airbnb provide a new way for users to enjoy unique activities – such as workouts and mentoring sessions led by Olympians and Paralympians virtually – and for athlete hosts to share their passion, connect with fans and earn income during the COVID-19 pandemic.