The 2018 Winter Olympics will run from February 9 to 25 live from Pyeongchang County, South Korea. But before we kick off the sports-filled competition, we'd like to bring to the forefront a list of athletes you should definitely keep an eye for.
These athletes are making history at the iconic sports event against all odds. Check out their inspirational stories below:
#1 From Siblings To Ice Dancers, The Shib Sibs Spread Family Love In The Rink
Alex, 26, and Maia Shibutani, 23, are two siblings who have been skating individually since she was 4 and he was 7. At the ages of 9 and 12, Alex and Maia became ice skating partners and together have won medals at the U.S. Championships for 13 consecutive years and won the senior title in 2016 and 2017.
Their parents, both of Japanese descent, made many sacrifices, such as moving from Boston to Colorado, so that their children can achieve their dreams. “We feel incredibly lucky to have such a strong family… it’s so special to have this experience as siblings and also to have our parents’ unconditional support and belief in us. They’ve been with us every step of the way,” they said in an interview with Coca-Cola.
After placing 9th place at the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi with the U.S.A. Ice Dancing Team, the “Shib Sibs” are ready to take their sisterly and brotherly love to the ice skating rink at the 2018 Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, South Korea.
#2 Three Nigerian Women Are Already Making History At The 2018 Winter Olympics
For the first time in history, Nigeria will be represented at the Winter Olympics. Seun Adigun, Ngozi Onwumere, and Akuoma Omeoga, are the three professional athletes on their way to Pyeongchang, South Korea as the Nigerian women’s bobsled team.
Although many Nigerian athletes have left a mark in the summer Olympic games, this is the first time that the African country qualifies at the winter games. Even though the games have not begun, the three bobsledders, who were once Track and Field athletes, are already making history.
“We are from a continent that would never imagine sliding down ice at 80 or 90 miles per hour," Adigun told the BBC. "I find the idea of getting people to take to that inspiring in itself."
#3 How A Childhood Battle With Leukemia Inspired Bryan Fletcher’s Passion For Skiing
Bryan Fletcher was only 4 years old when he was diagnosed with Leukemia. At age 5, he suffered a stroke due to a chemotherapy drug. His childhood was not easy and being a normal kid was challenging. In hopes to cope with his sickness, Fletcher discovered his passion for skiing. He went into remission at 8, after chemo and lots of skiing.
“Going through something like that, it gives you a little bit of maturity at a younger age, but you also realize that there is more out there than just the competition,” Fletcher said to NBC News. “You're not so focused on, ‘I have to do well in this competition to be happy or to be fulfilled in life.’ I'm grateful just to be out there with the opportunity and try to achieve a better me every day.”
Fletcher will compete in Nordic Combined at the 2018 Olympic Games in Pyeongchang, South Korea.
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