Nigeria Athletes has been a part of the Olympic games since 1952 when the West African nation made its debut in Helsinki Finland even though the country wasn’t independent then.
As expected the country failed to win a single medal at its debut where it paraded just nine and it was not until 1964 in Tokyo (three editions later) when Nigeria registered a solitary Bronze medal.
Boxing would continue to be one of the sports where Nigeria has been successful sports at the Olympics but the next medal didn’t come until the Munich Olympics in 1972 where another single bronze medal was recorded.
Athletes Who Wrote Nigeria’s 25-Medal story At the Olympics Games
Nigeria punched to the bronze medal in the boxing event through Nojim Maiyegun in the light middleweight event, despite having 12 athletes.
The Boxer went on to have a bronze medal at the 1966 commonwealth games and also had 12 wins and 4 losses in 16 bouts in his pro-boxing career.
Again it was in boxing and this time it was Isaac Ikhouria who won a bronze medal and a year later he won a gold medal at the 1973 All-Africa Games.
Nigeria missed the Montreal Olympics in 1976, recorded no medal at the 1980 Olympics in Moscow but won more than a single medal at the Olympics for the first time at the 1984 Los Angeles Olympics with a silver and bronze medals.
Again Boxing brought in silver medal through Peter Konyegwachie at the Men’s Featherweight (– 57 kg) while the quartet of Innocent Egbunike, Rotimi Peters, Moses Ugbusien, and Sunday Uti won bronze in Athletics, Men’s 4 × 400 m Relay.
Four years later in Seoul, Nigeria brought naught in terms of medals but in Barcelona, Spain 1992, four medals came from two sports, you guessed right, Boxing and Athletics.
Beatrice Utondu, Faith Idehen, Mary Onyali and Christy Opara Thompson won bronze in Women’s 4 × 100 m Relay while their male counterpart Oluyemi Kayode, Olapade Adeniken, Davidson Ezinwa, Chidi Imoh, and Osmond Ezinwa won silver Men’s 4 × 100 m Relay.
Boxing delivered two silver medals David Izonritei in Boxing, Men’s Heavyweight and Richard Igbineghu in Boxing, Men’s Super Heavyweight.
Atlanta 1996 remains Nigeria’s most successful outing at an Olympic event with six medals won. Two gold medals and one silver and three bronze medals.
The country’s male football team won its first ever gold medal at the Olympics event beating the duo of Argentina and Brazil to the gold medal.
Chioma Ajunwa also won the first individual gold medal in Athletics, Women’s Long Jump.
Falilat Ogunkoya, Bisi Afolabi, Fatima Yusuf and Charity Opara won silver in Athletics, Women’s 4×400 metres Relay
Three individuals won bronze medals, Falilat Ogunkoya Athletics, Women’s 400 metres, Mary Onyali — Athletics, Women’s 200 metres and boxing Duncan Dokiwari — Boxing, Men’s Super Heavyweight.
The 2000 Sydney Olympics saw Nduka Awazie, Fidelis Gadzama, Clement Chukwu, Jude Monye, Sunday Bada, Enefiok Udo-Obong won the Athletics Men’s 4×400 metres relay Gold.
Ruth Ogbeifo won Weightlifting Women’s 75 kg silver medal as well as Glory Alozie who picked Athletics Women’s 100 metres hurdles.
Athens 2004 saw just two bronze medals from 70 Athletes, Deji Aliu, Aaron Egbele, Uchenna Emedolu, Olusoji Fasuba won Athletics Men’s 4 × 100 men relay Bronze.
The quartet of Musa Audu, James Godday, Enefiok Udo-Obong, Saul Weigopwa also won the Athletics Men’s 4 × 400 men relay bronze medal.
Four years later, Nigeria record another five-medal success in China with 3 silver medals and 2 bronze medals.
The Dream team, Nigeria’s male football team won silver, Blessing Okagbare also got silver for the long jump while the quartet of Franca Idoko, Gloria Kemasuode, Halimat Ismaila, Oludamola Osayomi, Agnes Osazuwa won silver in the 4 x 100m women’s relay.
Chika Chukwumerije won bronze in Taekwondo Men’s +80 kg while it was Bronze for Mariam Usman Weightlifting in Women’s +75kg.
However, Nigeria failed to win any medal at the London Olympics in 2012 while the Dream team, Nigeria’s male football team won the country’s only medal at the event.
It has been a long journey for Nigeria at the Olympics but one with little return and with Tokyo 2020 just few months away, the number of medals may not be high but hopes are rising but we will look at the events Nigeria will take part in another write up.