One member of Nigeria's Olympic team is built Ford tough.
CiCi Onyekwere, a design and release engineer for Ford Motor Co.'s Super Duty pickups, qualified for the Tokyo Olympics as a discus thrower. The 27-year-old, who emigrated to the U.S. from Nigeria at age 10 and has worked at Ford for five years, was able to dedicate extra time to training and competing while working from home during the pandemic, according to a story on the @FordOnline employee news website.
Onyekwere, who was an All-American track-and-field athlete at the University of Maryland, is the top-ranked discus thrower from Africa and rated No. 16 globally.
"It means the world to me to be able to compete in Tokyo," she said. "It's been five years of hard work and dedication. I can't really put it into words, but it means so much that I can work at Ford and be able to call myself an Olympian."
She often wakes up at 5 a.m. to practice and said her managers have been flexible in letting her work around her athletic schedule. Health restrictions sometimes made it tough to find space to practice, especially during the winter, but she made do.
"I had the most social distancing," she said. "I was able to go out there and throw and just focus on technique."
Onyekwere said on Twitter that Executive Chairman Bill Ford wrote a letter congratulating her on becoming an Olympian.