Every athlete aspires to represent his or her nation in the Olympics and make their compatriots proud. However, only the select few are destined to live their dreams and look down from the Olympic platform.
During the past decades, many African athletes have won medals, but only a select few manage to make it memorable. If you’re an African and want to responsibly test your luck, you can check out live odds Naija options. Let’s look into some of the most brilliant displays from African athletes.
Eric Moussambani, freestyle swimming in 2000
Most Africans might not recognize Eric by his name, but his nickname ‘The eel’ is much more recognizable. He was the highlight of the Sydney 2000 Olympic games. The strangest thing is that he only entered the competition thanks to dumb luck. He hailed from Equatorial Guinea, a small nation on the coast. The Olympic committee decided to give less privileged nations a chance to participate in the competition, and that’s how he got his break.
His performance was truly mind-blowing because it was his first time swimming in a 50m-long swimming pool. He practically had no practice swimming in this type of pool. No one thought he would win a medal, especially considering the big names competing in his category. Eric performed amazingly and etched his name in the history of the Olympic Games.
Nigerian Football Team at 1996 Games
The team representing Nigeria at the 1996 games was marvelous. Their dedication and perseverance were even more impressive than the quality of individual players. They started strong – defeating all competition handily until they reached the semi-finals, where they encountered an equally amazing Brazil team. This was a time when Brazil was at the height of its glory – winning world championships with star players like Ronaldo.
The Super Eagles were very close to being knocked out. They were down by 2 goals and there were only about ten minutes left. Everyone but the twelve Nigerian players on the pitch had given up. Eventually, they turned it around by scoring two goals in short succession. When the dust was settled, the Nigerians had knocked Brazil Team out of the competition and forced their way to the finals. In the final, they again performed a miracle. Nigerians were losing 2-1, and there were only 15 minutes left. In the end, they won the gold medal and made history.
David Rushida, 2012 London Olympics
Kenyan athletes have a monopoly on 800m running track. During the past 30 years, Kenyan athletes have won a medal in this category 29 times. David Rushida is probably the crown jewel of all Kenyan runners competing in the Olympics. Besides the biggest competition in the world, he also won world championships and other accolades.
Despite having a status of a legend before 2012, it was in the London Olympics where he truly made his mark. During the games, he broke the record and finished 800m races in under 1:41:00. His comments after the feat were even more iconic. The athlete said: ‘the weather was beautiful – I decided to go for it. The strange fact is that there might’ve been some truth to his words. Every athlete competing that day broke their own records, but there was only one champion in the end.
Kenenisa Bekele and Tirunesh Dibaba, 2008 Beijing Olympics
Similar to Kenyans, Ethiopians win a lot of medals for running. Unlike Kenyans, they are dominant in the longer-distance categories. In 2008, Kenenisa Bekele won two gold medals and broke records at the same time. Africans, and Ethiopians in particular, were extremely proud and understood the magnitude of his achievements. However, running fans worldwide sometimes seem to overlook Kenenisa’s achievements. Usain Bolt, a track legend in his own right, called Kenenisa Bekele one of the best athletes to ever run.
Tirunesh Dibaba is another amazing Ethiopian Athlete. She won the 5000m and 10000m tracks as well, securing two gold medals for Ethiopia.
Chad Le Clos, 2012 London Olympics
Michael Phelps is a huge name, famous for winning every competition he enters. It is nearly impossible for anyone to stop him from winning gold. Chad Le Clos did nearly impossible in the 2012 London Olympics, he beat Phelps and won a gold medal for South Africa.
Cameroon Football Team, 2000 Sydney Olympics
At the beginning of the new millennium, Cameroon Football Team seemed undefeatable. The team included many legends, like Geremi and Kameni. The team also had youngsters who became legends and world-class players in the next decade, like Samuel Eto’o. Most of Africa cheered for them, as they won African and international titles. Their impressive run started with winning the African Cup of Nations in January.
The 2000 Sydney games were the biggest achievement of the Cameroonian team. They secured the gold medal for Africa in the most dramatic fashion. After drawing the game with the equally glorious team from Spain, they won in the penalty shootout. The world was stunned, especially considering the fact that the Spain team featured promising players like Xavi.