Friday, 2 September 2016

Five people that made a huge mark 'Heroes' on RIO Olympics

The much anticipated 2016 Rio Olympic Games has come and gone.
But the memories will never go. Memories from marriage proposals to world records broken and set, who will forget the Ryan Lockte fiasco where he went from hero to zero after a stupid lie, Mo Farrah's falling and rising to win, an athlete's  bad case of diarrhoea while he ran his race,another burst into limelight after making a gesture in protest of the treatment meted out to his ethnic group back home.

According to Ms Ajekigbe in her write up for Punch ;for an event that kicked off amidst controversies and plenty of difficulties, the 2016 Summer Olympics sure wasn’t shy of happenings. Happenings, heroes and villains. But, villains are hardly worth dedicating time and space to, so I’ll be highlighting my top five heroes of the just concluded Summer Games in Rio.

The Nigerian Under-23 Football Team: The story of the Under-23 football team is nothing short of a miracle. A miracle borne out of sheer perseverance and determination.  The team were discouraged from the get go, they had very little funding, and were stranded in Atlanta, US, for hours before arriving in Rio just a few hours before their first group game against Japan.

 The boys became a charity case for Delta Airlines and Japanese billionaire, Katsuya Takasu. Unpaid hotel bills and allowances almost caused a scandal even while the team were in Brazil, but against all odds they won the bronze.

Chierika Ukogu: The Stanford University graduate who put her dreams of going to medical school on hold and sponsored herself to the Olympics just to represent a nation she didn’t even grow up in deserves to be applauded by every Nigerian for her patriotism. The professional rower and self motivated lady who inspite her being a privileged child was passionate enough to work hard and become the first Nigerian athlete to compete for the rowing event at the Olympic Games and winning silver medal. 

Usain Bolt and Michael Phelps:  While Usain Bolt, nicknamed “Lightning Bolt” may be regarded as the greatest Olympian ever in some quarters given his 100 per cent record at the Games resulting in nine gold medals in three consecutive Olympic Games, coupled with the fact that the track events, especially the 100m, 200m and relay races are generally held on a higher pedestal compared to other sports, the achievements of American-born Michael Phelps at 31-year-old is unarguably the most decorated Olympian of all time.

Mo Farah: the Mogadishu, Somali-born British’s journey to clinching the gold medals in the 5,000m and 10,000m distance races once again is a testament to what a never-say-die-spirit is capable of achieving. His revelation of how he had to stay away from his family to prepare to that of him tripping down and picking himself up to win the race is a good lesson in getting up and going on to achieve success after a setback.

Nikki Hamblin and Abbey D’Agostino: The two ladies from New Zealand and the United States respectively displayed a rare spirit of kindness and selflessness by helping each other up when they fell at different times during their qualifying heat for the 5,000m race even though they were competitors in the same race.

 They ended up winning the Fair Play Award from the Fair Play Committee at the Games. The Olympic spirit of kindness and selflessness which the athletes embodied should not just be applauded, but emulated.

From Simone Biles, the teenager who won four Olympic gold medals in gymnastics; setting a new American record for the most gold medals in women’s gymnastics at a single game in the process to 21-year-old Joseph Schooling, who beat Michael Phelps (in the 100m butterfly final) his Olympic hero to upset the odds eight years after meeting him, and thereby became the first Singaporean to win gold at the Olympics, to Wayde Van Niekerk, the South African who won gold in the 400m in style and broke a 17-year-old record from lane eight while at it.

There were several other athletes from all over the world who shone brightly at the Rio Olympics in all kudos to them.


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