Atlanta Olympics Still Nigeria’s Best Outing | Independent Newspapers Limited
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Atlanta Olympics Still Nigeria’s Best Outing

Posted: Aug 24, 2016 at 3:00 am   /   by   /   comments (1)

Chibuike Chukwu
Lagos – But for the 1976 edition in Montreal, Canada, Nigeria has competed in all Olympic Games since the country made her debut in 1952 in
Helsinki, Finland. Nigeria boycotted the Montreal Games due to Africa’s decision to stay out of the events over political issues. Nigerian athletes have won a total of 24 medals, made up of three gold, nine silver and 12 bronze. The medals were mostly won in athletics and boxing.

Chioma Ajunwa and the national men’s football team won the country’s first gold medals in 1996. In 2008, following the International Olympic Committee (IOC)’s decision to strip the American 4 × 400 metre relay team of their medals after Antonio Pettigrew confessed to using performance-enhancing drugs, Nigerian was awarded the gold medal.

Historically, Nojim Maiyegun won Nigeria’s first Olympics medal, which was a bronze in Boxing at the Tokyo Games in 1964. Isaac Ikhouria added another bronze at the Munich Games in 1972, before Peter Konyegwachie, another boxer and current national boxing coach, increased the medal for the country with silver at the Los Angeles Olympics in 1984. At the Los Angeles also, Nigeria 4x400m won bronze.
But Nigeria’s impact began to be felt at the Games at the Barcelona edition in 1992 where the country won four medals, made up of three
silver and bronze.

As written earlier, it was at the Atlanta Olympics that the country broke the gold medal jinx, winning two. The first was by Chioma Ajunwa
who leaped 7.12m to win the long jump gold. Then, Nigeria men’s football team followed suit with another gold the following day. Aside the two gold medals, the country also won silver and three bronze medals. The silver was won in the women’s 4x400m while Mary Onyali,
Falilat Ogunkoya and Duncan Dokiwari won bronze in their respective events. But this would be Onyali and Ogunkoya’s first individual
Olympics medal.

Nigeria also put up a good showing at the Sydney Games in 2000 after winning one gold and two silver medals. The gold medal came from men’s
4x400m. It would be recalled that the gold medal was awarded to Nigeria after the United States’ Pettigrew confessed to using
performance-enhancing drugs at the event.

Meanwhile, the silver medals came from Gloria Alozie in women’s 100m hurdle and Ruth Ogbeifo in women’s 75kg wrestling event.
In the Games at the Greek City of Athens, Nigeria won two bronze medals. The feat was achieved in the men’s 4x100m and men’s 4x400m.
The country won four medals, made up of two silver and two bronze, at the Beijing Games in 2008. The silver medals were won by the men’s
football team and women’s 4x100m, while the bronze medals were won in women’s long jump and men’s +80kg taekwondo.

Nigeria failed to win a single medal in the 2012 Games in London, but returned in the just-concluded Games in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil with a
single medal – silver won by the country’s men football team.

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