A brief history of Nigeria at the Olympic Games.
Team Nigeria has ended its journey at the ongoing Tokyo Olympic Games, and the story of their participation makes for sorry takes.
A doping scandal, 10 disqualified athletes, protests and the stark incompetence of the Nigerian sports officials will be the story of Team Nigeria at the Olympics.
Despite these drawbacks, Nigeria managed two medals at the Games, down to only the brilliance of Ese Brume and Blessing Oborududu.
With these two medals, Nigeria now has 27 since they first participated in the Helsinki 1952. These comprise three gold medals; 11 silver medals and 13 bronze medals.
Why do these new medals rank among other ones Nigeria has won at the Olympics. While every medal is a top moment for any country and athlete, in this article, we select the top 10.
10. First Medal
Only a few moments can top Nigeria’s maiden medal win in the Olympics. It came through Nojeem Maiyegun in Tokyo 1964.
He claimed the Bronze Medal in the men’s boxing light middleweight class.
9. Bronze in Munich
After its first taste of victory, Nigeria did not win at the next Olympics. In 1972, Nigeria grabbed a Bronze Medal through Isaac Ikhouria in the light heavyweight category of the boxing event.
8. First medal in Track & Field
Trac and Field sports have been popular in Nigeria even pre-Independence. But there was a lack of success in that event at the Olympics before the quartet of Sunday Uti, Moses Ugbusien, Rotimi Peters, and Innocent Egbunike won the Bronze Medal in the men’s 4×400m relay.
7. Silver in 4X 100m
The 100m relay is one of the most popular events in the Olympics. In Barcelona 92, Nigeria’s men’s quartet of Olapade Adeniken, Davidson Ezinwa, Chidi Imoh, and Oluyemi Kayode won the Silver Medal in the 4X 100m
6. Bronze in 4X100 m
The 1992 Olympic Games was good for Nigeria, and it was when the legend Mary Onyali won two Olympic medals.
She was part of the women’s quartet that includes Beatrice Utondu, Christy Opara–Thompson, and Faith Idehen, who won Bronze Medal in the women’s 4X 100m
5. Onyali’s Bronze Medal
Nigeria had a slew of big moments at the 1996 Olympic Games in Atlanta and remains the most memorable Games from the country’s perspective.
One of Nigeria’s big moments was Onyali winning a Bronze Medal in the hotly contested women’s 100m.
4. Blessing Okagbare’s Bronze Medal
Blessing Okagbare is a Nigerian Track & Field legend. She announced herself on the big stage when she won a Bronze Medal in the Women’s Long Jump event at the 2008 Olympics in Beijing at just the age of 19.
3. Gloria Alozie’s Silver
Before she famously dumped Nigeria to represent Spain, Gloria Alozie got Nigeria a podium finish at the 200 Olympic Games in Sydney.
She won a Silver Medal at the Women’s 100 metres hurdles.
2. Chioma Ajunwa’s Gold
For the first time in its Olympic history, Nigeria won its first Gold Medal through Chioma Ajunwa. Ajunwa finished first in the final of the Women’s Long Jump event to win a Gold Medal.
1. Football Gold Medal
Football is by far the most popular sport in Nigeria, and when the Kanu Nwankwo-led Dream team stunned the world to a Gold Medal at the 1996 OlympicsGames, the whole country went wild in celebration.
Nigeria’s triumph at the football event is undoubtedly one of its most significant sporting moments in history.