Before she was an Olympian, she was a Wildcat. Now, Simidele Adeagbo is also being hailed as a role model for young girls in Africa and around the globe, according to a new feature in The New York Times.
Adeagbo was a member of UK’s track and field team in the early 2000s, where she claimed the schools’ triple jump record while being named a four-time NCAA All-American, an Academic All-American, an Arthur Ashe Jr. Sports Scholar and an NCAA and SEC scorer – all while earning her Journalism degree. She later went on to earn her master’s degree in communication from UK.
Before her eventual time on the ice, “Simi” was first a two-time U.S. Olympic Trials finalist in the triple jump, narrowly missing a spot on the 2008 team.
“I thought my athletic journey had ended,” she told UK in February 2018. “Not making the team was a huge disappointment and it took its toll on me, but I knew I had given it my all.”
Years later, she picked up a sled for the first time in her life, simply out of curiosity. She began competing in skeleton four months before the start of the 2018 Winter Olympics.
Upon her qualification, Adeagbo became the first African woman to participate in skeleton in the Olympics. But she won’t be the last. Now, she’s holding “master classes” for young girls across Africa; she’s already tested the program with a few hundred girls Kenya, Morocco, Nigeria and South Africa. She’ll be refining her curriculum during her fellowship with Yale later this year.
The short feature has more about Adeagbo’s leadership classes and what she hopes to accomplish. For the full article, check out the full New York Times article here.