As Nigeria, despite the hiccups and ill-preparation, get set to take part in the Rio 2016 Olympic Games officially starting on 5 August, Completespprtsnigeria.com’s ADEBOYE AMOSU relives the country’s great Olympic moments through the years…
FOOTBALL GOLD, ATLANTA ’96
The U-23 Eagles led by Dutchman Jo Bonfrere made history by becoming the first team from Africa to win the gold medal in the football event at the Atlanta 1996 Olympic Games.
Captained by the prodigiously talented Nwankwo Kanu and including big stars like Jay Jay Okocha, Taribo West and Emmanuel Amuneke, the side nicknamed Dream Team because of its star-studded make-up came from two goals down to beat Brazil 4-3 in the semi- finals and then defeated Argentina 3-2 in the final.
LONG JUMP GOLD, ATLANTA ’96
Policewoman Chioma Ajunwa shocked the world as she won Nigeria’s first and only individual gold medal in the history of the Olympic Games in the long jump event at the Atlanta ’96 games.
She etched her name in history with a leap of 7.12 metres.
4X 400 MEN’S RELAY GOLD, SYDNEY 2000
Enefiok Udo-Obong inspired the country’s 4×400 relay team to a first ever gold medal in relay sprinting.
The quartet which also included Sunday Bada, Clement Chukwu and Jude Monye initially finished in the second position behind the United States of America, but were declared the winners of the race after the International Olympic Committee stripped the US team of their medal as a result of drug-related offences.
BOXING SILVER, LOS ANGELES 1984
Nigeria’s Peter Konyegwachie won a silver medal in the featherweight boxing event at the Los Angeles Games. It was Nigeria’s first ever silver medal in the boxing event at the Olympics.
FOOTBALL SILVER, BEIJING 2008
Though the U-23 Eagles failed to match the achievement of the gold medal winning team of 1996, they made their mark by claiming silver medal in Beijing 2008.
The Samson Siasia-led side wowed football fans with their great displays and battled bravely against a Lionel Messi-inspired Argentina in the final losing 1-0.
4X400 MEN’S RELAY TEAM BRONZE, LOS ANGELES 1984
Nigeria’s first medal in athletics at the Olympics came at Los Angeles ’84. The quartet of Sunday Uti, Innocent Egbunike, Moses Ugbesien and Rotimi Peters made history after securing the third position in the event.
TAEKWONDO BRONZE, BEIJING 2008
Chika Chukwumerije won a bronze medal in the event where Nigeria was not largely seen as a force to reckon with. He narrowly lost to eventual silver medal winner Alexandros Nikolaidis in the 80kg category.
4X100M WOMEN’S BRONZE, BARCELONA’92
Though they only came third in the final of the 4X100m women’s relay event, the quartet of Mary Onyali, Beatrice Utondu, Faith Idehen and Christy Opara-Thompson celebrated as if they actually won the event.
Their faces have over the years become the Olympic symbol as the world watched how they celebrated their feat.
4X400M MEN’S SILVER, BARCELONA ’92
The Nigeria relay men’s team were not left out of the party at the Barcelona ’92 games as they won the silver medal in the event.
The quartet was made up of Davidson Ezinwa, Chidi Imoh, Olapade Adeniken and the late Oluyemi Kayode.
LONG JUMP BRONZE, BEIJING 2008
Blessing Okagbare, who was just 19 at the time, surprised many by winning the bronze medal in the long jump event in Beijing 2008.