2016 Olympics (4): van Niekerk, a new African track star; Nigerian athletes crowd-funded Olympic trips while Govt. subsidizes Hajj; + wonderful stories & images – Tọla Adenle

August 24, 2016


South Africa’s golden ‘boy’, Wade van Niekerk on the run in the 400 m final, as he races to an Olympic and new World Record in the 400 meter in 43.03 secs to erase America’s Michael Johnson’s record that had stood for 17 years!

Image result for van Niekerk

Is this a 200m-run or what? van Nierkerk turns the 300m corner in great sprinting style!


He poses at the Omega Time Board that shows his New World Record.

With Usain Bolt after running the best race of his career. He had trained in Jamaica during the last part of his Rio prep with The Bolt,  who would stop the press conference after his record THIRD Olympic gold right in the middle of things to congratulate van Niekerk, whose victory – AND GOLD – he had predicted.


[TIDBIT:  Van Niekerk is now reported to be the only man in history to break 10 seconds for the 100m (9.98), 20 seconds for the 200 (19.94) and 44 for the 400.


The time is here words can not explain the pride I’m experiencing at this moment. Gods blessings 😚🙌🙏❤😇

My eldest with his baby sis the next star in the making. To God all the glory. 🙌🙌🙌❤❤



Aw- come on, guys;  we know you are already in, and having funthere behind Bolt is [passport-Bahraini], struggling to complete this semi, for godsakes! I wouldn’t call this wicked ’cause everybody seemed to have enjoyed this playfulness to such a serious matter.

boltANDde grasse

Bolt and de Grasse competing (???) in one of the 100m semis August 17, 2016 at Rio! [NOTE: In the final, there was no chummy-chummy; Bolt, the Canadian took Gold to continue Jamaicans’ reign as Owners of the sprints while de Grasse, the Canadian took Bronze.]



The incomparable Ms. Simone Biles


As accurate [above on a 4-inch wide beam] as she can be playful [on her floor exercise in which she has a maneuver that’s difficult to describe named after her – The Biles which makes her soar high above the earth – look easy, below! Google “The Biles” or check it out on YouTube.


Image result for simone biles at rio floor exercise

  • the first woman gymnast since 1968 to win four (out of six possible) gold medals at a single Olympics
  • first US gymnast to ever win 4 gold medals at a single Olympics
  • first woman in the world to win 3 consecutive world championships: 2013, ’14 & ’15
  • Only two other women have won four gymnastics golds in a single Games: Vera Caslavska of then Czechoslovakia (1968) and Agnes Keleti of Hungary (1956)
  • Legendary coach, Marta, half of Gymnastic Hall of Fame husband/wife, Bela & Marta Karoly who started US gymnastics team on a path to great achievements since the early 1980s – is full of superlatives for Simone.


SIMONE, Number 1 among five fabulous athletes, perhaps the most admired star of the Rio Games, had so many selfies taken with her as she carried USA’s flag at the closing ceremony BY FELLOW ATHLETES, I lost count. And the dazzling smiles hardly ever leave her face except during routines.


GYMNASTICSthe final 5usa2016

Left to Right: Gabby Douglas (1 gold); Aly Raisman (1 gold, 2 silver); Simone Biles (4 gold, 1 Bronze); Madison Kocian (1 gold, 1 silver) and Laurie Hernandez (I gold, 1 silver). [The single gold for all team members is from the Women’s All-Around which in which the US took ‘gold.’


Image result for simone biles with selfies while carrying US flag at rioImage result for simone biles with selfies while carrying US flag at rio



ANOTHER SIMONE, Simone Manuel [Left] a college student and an accomplished swimmer out of storied Stanford University, became African-American first to win a gold at the Olympics.

Image result for simone biles and us olympic flag

Two Simones, 2 different sports, 2 Gold medals + 2 silver for swimmer Simone & 4 gold medals + 1 bronze for Gymnastics Simone, 2 MAJOR of barrier-breaking stories at the Rio Games. What a delightful & hardworking pair! What glory to good old USA despite its flaws, especially inequalities in opportunities and access based on racism for remaining a place where JUST ABOUT ANYTHING is achievable if you remain focus and are willing to put in the hard work!!

And, what blessings to Simone Manuel & Simone Biles and their families, and what great achievements for African-Americans and peoples of African descent everywhere for the continued bursting and myth shattering of racist narrative concerning our peoples everywhere!!!

 Image result for simone biles and us olympic flag

And a selfie for these lovable young women during their first meeting at Rio!

Saying Goodbye to Rio on Behalf of Team USA, Biles with fellow Gymnasts


L to R: Hernandez, Biles, Marcian & Raisman

USA sweeps Women’s 100 meters, first time in history at Rio’s 31st Olympiad!

L to R: Kristi Castlin (Bronze); Brianna Rollins (Gold); Nia Ali in dramatic pose with American flags after their history-making 100-meter hurdles final in Rio last week.  [Credit: Huffington Post]

For toddlers, Rio provided many stars, especially a new generation of females, to look up to …

Little Laylas cheers Simone Manuel, first African-American woman to win a swimming medal at the Olympics. Her gold was especially sweet. See above for her medals.

My little swimmer says, “I Got Next!”

Not a coincidence this kid stops, watches the then completely on his own picks up my Garmin

Gymnast, Simone Biles already commands loyal following …

Kanye and Kim’s little girl, Miss North West adores Simone so much that her mom reported she would roll and tumble on the bed trying to copy Simone whenever she had a routine. The affection seems mutual as Simone has reportedly expressed her wish  to have “North West to Be Her ‘Mini Me”. How cute!

It started with Kim wishing Simone good luck before her first medal, a tweet that mentioned North’s gym interest. Simone tweeted back, thanking Kim and casually added: ” … by the way, I am obsessed with North. So adorable …”

Every Olympics, there always seems to be a young gymnast that captures the imagination of the whole world, especially little girls; may have to do with the magic-looking dare-devil moves of young ladies who do not tower over them; who knows!

In a pre-Olympics post, I mentioned how my little girl got interested in gymnastics when she saw Mary-Lou Retton at the LA Games in 1984.


Other gymnasts have made the daring sports attractive to young girls: Nadia Comanecci, Kristie Phillips, Olga Koburt, Dominic Daws, Shannon Miller, Gabby Douglas, and now Simone Biles although there are many more Olympians and gold medalists at the World Championship level who have also become role models to young girls who would later go ahead to become stars.



Stranded in Atlanta; team cash-strapped; flight to Rio delayed for days till – yipee – Delta to the rescue – Arrived Rio on day of first match, no kits; Played and won first match- got out of Group Stage B with top score (Other teams: Japan, Colombia & Sweden) … It walloped Denmark 2-0 in the Quarter Finals before falling to the German machine 0-2 at Sao Paulo’s Corithians Arena.

NIGERIA TOOK BRONZE DESPITE  ALL ODDS by beating Honduras 3-2, a match that saw Nigeria run to an early 2-0 lead.

Eagles Skipper,one of the older players allowed by the Olympics rule to be older than 23 worked hard in the 3-2 victory over Honduras.

An intriguing story of a can-do lucky Olympian who was a little short

I happened on one of the rowing heats and was surprised but excited when I saw a female in Nigerian colors rowing! I thought of the many women I had seen on various Lagoons in Lagos, Nigeria. Those women, sometime with babies strapped to their backs, and rowing alone, were good: strong, dexterous and very capable. None was ever in competition with other women but as I watched Chierika Ukogu, I became almost mesmerized. The only rowing competitions I have watched on and off on television since 2005 are the annual Oxford/Cambridge event.

Now, this was something else. As soon as she got to the end of the Heat which saw Chierika move to the Quarterfinals, I went on line to search for the young lady sent by Nigeria to row at Rio!

I was not surprised to learn that Chierika is a Nigerian-American who is a a Princeton student as many competitors at Rio were, especially in sports like swimming.

Although Chierika – who probably financed herself to compete in the event at the FISA Olympics qualifying competition at African level, her appearance at Rio for which she qualified, was crowd-funded, that new phenomenon of raising funds through individual donations launched through the web.

Chierika raised $15,000.00 which enabled her participate to represent “her country”, a country that would subsidize Hajj pilgrims in hard-to-find foreign exchange by business people in Nigeria. A country whose stranded Olympic team was described in negative superlatives when billions are stolen daily is a shameless country.

While Chierika did qualify through four rounds, and actually placed in her fourth round, a semi-final, she did not medal, still, a very laudable achievement.

Congratulations to “Coco” for all the efforts that got you to Rio. To hear the commentators, one would think you were doing something strange to people in the land of your parents’ births. Of course it would be strange to see a woman in a rowing competition but young lady, keep up the interest and effort but I am sure you’ve visited Nigeria and must have seen women rowers and paddlers on the lagoons in Lagos.

After the 2012 London Games, I wrote an essay: To win gold, we must invest in gold :


It is an admonition that remains very relevant because there were other self-funded and crowd-funded athletes wearing Nigerian colors at Rio, including track stand-out, Regina George, Shot-putter, Nikki Okwelogu, and a few others.

Rower Chierika Ukogu - 9 August 2016 in Rio, Brazil


A smiling Chierika smiles at the world. [Credit: AFP]

WEDNESDAY, AUGUST 24, 2016. 2:40 a.m. [GMT]



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7 Comments on “2016 Olympics (4): van Niekerk, a new African track star; Nigerian athletes crowd-funded Olympic trips while Govt. subsidizes Hajj; + wonderful stories & images – Tọla Adenle”

  1. Remi Omodele Says:

    Thank you for this wonderful recap, dear Sister. Very helpful for those of us with too much ‘busyness’ (or a case of ADD?) to camp out in front of our tvs and devour those lovely events.

    More grease to your hardworking elbows! Remi

    On Tue, Aug 23, 2016 at 7:41 PM, emotanafricana.com wrote:

    > emotan77 posted: “South Africa’s golden ‘boy’, Wade van Niekerk on the run > in the 400 m final, as he races to an Olympic and new World Record in the > 400 meter in 43.03 secs to erase America’s Michael Johnson’s record that > had stood for 17 years! Is this a 200m-run or wh” >



  2. Timothy Otunla Says:

    Dear sister and publisher,

    Shattering more racist myths, laughing in the face of centuries of injustice and indignities! Thank you for this slate of honour to Africa. Nigeria remains a floundering whale, but in good waters can, and will yet dazzle.

    Nku uṣẹ́ wa.

    Sent from my iPad




    • emotan77 Says:

      Dear Ẹgbọn,

      I’m still giddy with carry-over excitement. Oh, and what huge shattering of racist myths! Simone Manuel not only remained afloat but swam to 2 gold(s) individually and while leading a USA Medley Relay but additional 2 silvers WHILE Simone broke many records beyond the racial barriers in her 4 golds and a bronze. South Africa’s sprinter van Niekerk confirmed that sprinters can come out of AfrAmericans as well as Africans in the Motherland IF the environment is right.

      Nigeria’s “floundering whale” will dazzle some day, I agree, Sir.

      Sincere greetings,



    • emotan77 Says:

      Dear Ẹ̀gbọ́n,

      I’m still giddy with happiness and pride! And my, what bountiful harvests of myth-breaking: from South Africa’s van Nierkerk all the way across the big pond to two pint-size young female AfrAmericans – Simone & Gabby forming 40% of U.S. team that broke the stranglehold of gymnastic First Women All Around competition by other countries; to same Simone going further winning four gymnastic golds at same Olympics; to Stanford student, Simone Manuel winning the first AfrAmerican gold in swimming, and anchoring the US team to a swimming sprint gold WITHOUT SINKING …

      Yes, Sir, more barriers in sports and beyond will continue to fall, and Nigeria, as you’ve predicted, SHOULD rise IF & WHEN the era of mis-governance, cluelessness and selfishness by those at the helm of the country’s affairs ends.

      Sincere regards,



  3. bisisowunmig Says:

    Dear Tola,

    I really appreciate your passion and commitment.

    I was able to read through the latest email and I am using part of the portion on Nigeria and Olympics ( as well as portions on the massacre. Of Christians contained in the one you sent last night)this evening at the prayer meeting which I am leading in our Chapel. Christians need to know these stark realities and be jolted from their unblissful ignorance and self- centred orientation by several so- called Pentecostal Pastir’s who encourage them to focus on seeking blessings and miracles from God, and deliverance from enemies!

    There is a fire on our roof as Christians and we are snoring!! Saddest that there is so much complacency and silence even by the top hierarchies of so- called established churches — the Pentecostals are generally not known to have much of a social conscience, most unfortunately. We have no Desmond Tutus, or the South American Christian priests who championed “Liberation Theology” in face of despotism and corruption among their rulers. In short there is spiritual poverty in our land!

    S. Bisi

    Sent from my iPad




    • emotan77 Says:

      Dear Sis.,

      Where is Nigeria headed with all the religious strife with nothing more than perfunctory – when, at all – condemnation?

      Fondest regards, Ma.



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