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Germany claim bobsled gold, Nigeria bag the hearts

Seun Adigun and Akuoma Omeoga of Nigeria slide during the Women's Bobsleigh heats on Wednesday. Clive Mason/Getty Images

Germany may have won the women's bobsled gold in PyeongChang, but Nigeria won hearts around the world, and a last-place finish will not diminish their incredible story, or their place in Winter Olympics history.

Less than a year and half after deciding to give this niche winter sport a go, three Nigerian-American women slid four completed heats down one of the trickiest tracks in the world, cementing their names in the record books as the first Africans to bobsled in the Olympics.

Pilot Seun Adigun was partnered with Ngozi Onwumere for the two Wednesday heats, with the runner taking over from Akuoma Omeoga, who ran heats one and two. The pair were the only team to go over 52 seconds in heat three, but still quicker than their second run on Tuesday. Heat four saw them record 52.53s.

They finished last in all four runs, but not by much each time, and by no means embarrassed themselves, their financial backers, or their country. For the team that built their own training sled out of two-by-fours 15 months ago, the emotions were visible as they celebrated their final run.

Elsewhere on the track...

Right from the first run, the lap record of 50.52s that was set only 24 hours earlier tumbled. Germany's Mariama Jamanka and Lisa Buckwitz, the eventual winners, surpassed it before silver medallists Elana Meyers Taylor and Lauren Gbbs of the USA, who held it overnight, took it right back with 50.46s.

In fact, only one of the first eight teams to slide went over 51 seconds, and that was Mica McNeill and Mica Moore of Great Britain. The pair had two of the strongest runs on Tuesday, starting the second day in sixth, but faltered in heat three when they found themselves taking the wrong line and going sideways down the track.

The popular 'Micas' finished in 8th place, a new best for Team GB in the women's bobsled. It was a remarkable achievement considering they were self-funded, for all intents and purposes. British Bobsleigh withdrew their funding just months before the Games, in order to spend it on the men's four-man team.

Jamaica, making their country's debut in the women's event, had a poor first two heats on Tuesday, and were thus unable to climb out of the bottom three, ending in 19th place, though their fourth run was an excellent 51.32s.

"We hope that Caribbean nations start to take the Winter Olympics more seriously and I genuinely believe we're going to start seeing more girls and boys from here and Africa coming into these Winter sports over the next decade," pilot Jazmin Fenlator-Victorian told BBC Five Live.