Nigeria at the Olympics: Now and in the Past
Nigeria has competed in the Olympics since 1952, but Africa’s most populous country has only a total of 25 medals to show for its efforts.
Three gold medals, ten silver, and twelve bronze medals make up the total. Read on as we run you through some of the country’s 16 Olympics performances, in which 722 competitors were the proud recipients of these awards.
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Based on their previous performances, you’ll be able to rate the countries competing in the future Olympics. Let’s take a look at Nigeria and its Olympic history.
The Minister of Youth and Sports said that Team Nigeria’s performance in the recent Games was the “best in the last 13 years.” Minister Sunday Dare rightly believes Nigerians should be proud. Their country finished 74th on the medals table.
The minister called Nigeria’s athletes “amazing” and said the country’s 74th-place finish in the awards table was the best in many years, 13 in fact!
According to The PUNCH, Nigeria finished 68 out of 201 countries in Sydney in 2004, with two 3rd place bronze medals. However, in Tokyo 2020, the Nigerian teams placed 74th out of 205 countries, winning two bronze and a silver medal.
While only five competitors from the Men’s 4 x 100m relay and Men’s 4 x 400m relay got to the finals at the Tokyo 2020 Olympics, 8 athletes from the Men’s 4 x 100m relay and Men’s 4 x 400m relay qualified for the finals in Sydney 2004.
Naming The Athletes
Blessing Oborududu earned the silver medal for Nigeria in Tokyo 2020, while Ese Brume got the bronze. Brume won her maiden Olympic award and Nigeria’s first at these games with a just shy of 7-meter long jump in the final at the Olympic Stadium.
Oborududu, an up-and-coming wrestler, won a silver medal in the women’s freestyle wrestling 68 kg division. Nigeria had not won a medal in wrestling since 1952 when the country first participated in the Olympics.
Nigeria finished 32nd at Atlanta with two gold medals, one silver and three bronze. Here’s a list of the athletes and the medals they won.
Chioma Ajunwa, women’s long jump winner, won a gold medal. Bisi Afolabi, Falilat Ogunkoya, Charity Opara, and Fatima Yusuf won silver, representing Nigeria in the women’s 4400 meters relay.
The football team claimed the gold medal, propelling them into the history books, beating the world’s favourite, Brazil. The team captain Nwankwo Kanu claimed his rightful place as a Nigerian legend.
We know Nigeria can perform but has Nigeria not performed well in the last 3 Olympic games, or are the critics unkind? Let’s look at some of Nigeria’s top moments in its sporting history and shout out these achievements.
Nigeria’s Best at Past Olympic Games
Jim Maiyegun won the country’s first Olympic medal in Tokyo, 1964. Honouring the men’s light-middleweight division, he won bronze.
After that, Nigeria had to wait another eight years until another boxer, Isaac Ikhouria, won bronze in the light heavyweight category at the Munich Games in 1972.
The 1992 Olympic Games in Barcelona saw Team Nigeria redeem themselves by capturing three silver and one bronze medal. Boxing and athletics were also sources of these.
August 3, 1996, will live on in the minds of soccer-crazed Nigerians who celebrated their country’s historic first soccer gold medal win in Atlanta’s 1996 Centennial Olympic Games.
In the men’s heavyweight and super-heavyweight divisions, Richard Igbineghu and David Izonritei won silver medals, while the male and female relay teams won medals in the 4100m relay competitions.
Olapade Adeniken, Davidson Ezinwa, Chidi Imoh, and Oluyemi Kayode of the men’s quartet earned silver. At the same time, Beatrice Utondu, Christy Opara-Thompson, Mary Onyali, and Faith Idehen of the women’s four won bronze.
At the Games in Atlanta, Georgia, in 1996, Nigeria earned two gold medals, one silver medal, and three bronze medals in unprecedented performances.
On July 29, 1996, Chioma Ajunwa won a gold medal in the country’s first-ever winning women’s Long Jump event with her first jump.
Chioma Ajunwa earned a gold medal in the country’s first-ever women’s long jump event on July 29, 1996, with her first jump.
On August 3, Nigeria’s U-23 squad won a thrilling match against Argentina. Kanu Nwankwo, the team’s captain and scorer of the historic golden goal that beat Brazil in the semi-final, was one of the team’s most well-known members. Austin Okocha, Sunday Oliseh, Taribo West, Uche Okechukwu, and Daniel Amokachi were also on the team.
At the 2000 Sydney Olympics, Team Nigeria had a mixed bag of results. The USA team of Alvin Harrison, Antonio Pettigrew, Calvin Harrison, and Michael Johnson won the 4x400m relay race ahead of the Nigerian team of Clement Chukwu, Jude Monye, the late Sunday Bada, and Enefiok Udo-Obong. Still, the IOC reallocated the gold medal to Nigeria on July 12, 2012, after Antonio Pettigrew admitted to using banned substances in 2008.
In their August 28, 2004 competitions, the Sydney finalists, Aaron Egbele, Deji Aliu, Uchenna Emedolu, Musa Audu, Olusoji Fasuba, James Godday, Saul Weigopwa, and Enefiok Udo-Obong earned two bronze medals.
Another male football team, captained by the late Promise Isaac and managed by Samson Siasia, won silver in Beijing in 2008 after losing to Argentina due to an Angel di Maria goal.
Nigeria has never really shone at the Olympics, but they stepped up their game this year, earning them a ‘well-done’ from the country’s minister of sport.