I’ve had a great time watching the Olympics. Although a thousand miles away and not in the stadium, I can’t complain about my Olympic experience. At least the viewing has been good even though the opportunity to watch and cheer the Nigerian athletes has been less than abundant. I was pleasantly surprised to actually see Blessing Okgbare wear the Nigerian colours and qualify for the finals of the women’s 100m. This was the first I’d seen of a Nigerian athlete since the opening ceremony. That was a great sight to behold since they looked good and the number of people on the contingent was much smaller than I envisaged!
We all know that Blessing ran but ultimately didn’t receive any medal in the finals. She did her best but just wasn’t fast enough to get a bronze, silver or the highly coveted gold. Tosin Oke also didn’t make get a medal run in the triple jump despite the support from the crowd. My heart leapt when the women’s 4x100m relay heats participants were called, Nigeria was in lane six! Despite giving our best, the team didn’t advance to the finals and once again we were off the radar. I willed them to run faster and faster but it didn’t happen and my hope of seeing Nigeria at the finals of the 4x100m relay Olympic finals was dashed.
This disappointment has been shared nationwide. It’s really saddening when Nigerian names are called out representing other countries like Great Britain, France and the like. Like someone said, it takes some getting used to when you discover that the birth country of the athlete maybe different from the one they’re representing. Felix Sanchez is an interesting individual in question, born in the United States he represented the Dominican Republic where his parents hail from.
I’ve decided not to dwell on the participation woes and immerse myself as much as possible in the saga that is the Olympics. It’s all about the stories and there are lots of inspiring stories to keep you amazed. Each is as awesome as the next and demonstrates the triumph of the human spirit over challenges of one form or the other. Everyone knows (or should know!) the story of the South African, Oscar Pistorius (Blade Runner) the double amputee that’s fulfilling the dream of an Olympic finals in the 4x400m relay race in a few hours. Felix Sanchez that made a comeback when he had been all but written off, despite being a champion some years back. His unashamed emotional display when he received his gold medal and the part his grandmother had to play moved me to tears. Nicola Adams won the gold medal in the women’s boxing in the flyweight division. To think, three years prior to this celebration she had been bed ridden for three months with a cracked vertebrae. David Rudisha not only won the 800m but set a new world record to boot!
Amazing individuals and athletes abound at the 2012 Olympics. The youngsters that have dominated various events have been truly inspirational, Kirani James, Nijel Amos, Timothy Kitum, Gabrielle Douglas are but to name a few. Participants not as young have also urged me to believe that it’s not age that counts or matters when it comes to living your dream and being ready to chase it! Let’s LIVE, DREAM and CHASE our dreams knowing that it counts and is worthwhile.