A long time ago, Nigerians made diamonds from the rough which turned out to be Bobsled and Skeleton.
Growing up outside the affluent class for a Nigerian kid means a life of limited luxury with the focus on just needs, while frills are disregarded.
With time on their own spent on feeding their curious and boisterous mind, these kids, unregimented, exuberant and gleeful, get their hands on flotsams to ingeniously create play toys for themselves.
Indeed, it is in this manner that several games and toys have been created or discovered from jetsams by Nigerian kids.
Table Soccer, rubber throwing and so many other games yet unnamed have for years been the escape for kids growing up in the lower class of the Nigerian economy- rich kids can’t relate.
A toy called ‘Boris’-some call it ‘Bores’- is one of the products of this ingenuity.
The name ‘Boris’ itself describes the radicality around the toy to a hilt. The wheels of the toy are gotten from ball bearings found in car filters. It is from ball bearings (the wheels) that the name ‘Boris’ was formed.
A wooden carriage supported by ball bearings used as the wheels. The ball bearings, four or six depending on the length of the wood are steered by a handle attached at the front. A driver sits on the wooden carriage and uses the steering for control.
Woods are used in supporting the ball bearings in horizontal rows. The woods are attached to the hole in between the ball bearings.
Sometimes, the wooden carriage is short and can only take one ride, it is in this state that it approximates to Skeleton. The wooden carriage can also be long and big enough for more than one rider. It is in this state that it resembles the Bobsled.
In another type of Boris, the steering is at the back and attached to the front wheels with a chain or rope.
In between the chain-connected from the steering to the front wheel- are woods in two rows to support whatever is being carried by the ‘Boris’. A small stand is made for the controller of the ‘Bores’ to stand on behind the steering.
According to recorded history, Bobsled has been in existence since the 1870s. In St. Moritz, Switzerland, sleds were designed to carry passengers and heavily used by delivery boys. Soon, it became a competition which later led to its ban from the streets to protect the working class and rich visitors.
A wealthy family built the world’s first natural ice half-pipe track in about 1870 which went on to become a track during two Winter Olympic Games. Formal competitions started in 1884 at St. Moritz and have over the years evolved, matured and stabilized.
Bobsled is a winter sport in which teams of two or four teammates make timed runs down narrow, twisting, banked, iced tracks in a gravity-powered sled. The timed runs are combined to calculate the final score- via Wikipedia.
Bobsleigh has featured in every Winter Olympics since 1960. The Women’s bobsleigh competition, however, began in the United States in 1983 and made its Olympic debut at the 2002 Winter Olympic Games.
Skeleton is a winter sliding sport in which a person rides a small sled, known as a skeleton bobsled (or -sleigh), down a frozen track while lying face down. Unlike bobsled the race always involves single riders-via Wikipedia.
It also originated in St. Moritz, Switzerland and the sport is traced to 1882 by English soldiers. Skeleton first became an event at the Winter Olympic Games when it held in St. Moritz in 1928 and 1948. It was, however, permanently addition in 2002 to the Winter Games.
The International Bobsleigh and Skeleton Federation (FIBT) was founded in 1923.
The evolutions and changes the Bobsled and Skeleton have gone through over the years have dimmed its similarities with the Nigerian ‘Boris’ but there is still sameness.
If not, it shows how talents and habits have failed to be nurtured by the ill-disposed Nigerian sphere.
Lives have been changed with these sports, greatness has been clinched and lots of money have been made.
The white men evolved and changed these sports and now they are something of value.
Nigerians in Bobsled and Skeleton
For the first time ever, Nigerians have a chance to take the limelight with Bobsled and Skeleton, which they never took seriously even when they might have thousands who just needed a saner and favourable climate to become masters of the sports.
The 2018 Winter Olympics come with great interest to Nigerian sports enthusiasts. Four amazing women Seun Adigun, Ngozi Onwumere, Akuoma Omeoga and Simidele Adeagbo are the first athletes to represent Nigeria at the Winter Olympics.
Seun Adigun, Ngozi Onwumere, Akuoma Omeoga will be competing in Bobsled event while Simidele Adeagbo is in Skeleton.
As Nigerians cheer them during the ongoing Winter Olympics, it is important to note that they were all born and raised outside the country where they were afforded the boon of learning the sports.
Nigerians will be cheering on athletes in Bobsled and Skeleton for the first time, but a long time ago, they made diamonds from the rough and raced similar sports.
Source: Pulse. Ng