These Olympic gold medalists from Nigeria, competed in the Olympic games and were able to against all odds, return home with a
Nigeria first participated in the Olympics in 1952 and has sent athletes to compete in every Summer Olympic Games since then, except for the boycotted 1976 Summer Olympics. The nation participated in the Winter Olympic Games in 2018, having qualified female athletes in bobsleigh and skeleton.
Nigerian athletes have won a total of 25 gold medals, mostly in athletics and boxing. The national football team won the gold medal in 1996. In 2008, Nigeria was awarded the gold medal following the International Olympic Committee’s decision to strip the American 4 × 400 metre relay team of their medals, after Antonio Pettigrew confessed to using performance-enhancing drugs.
Here is a list of Nigerians who have won gold medals in the Olympic Games:
1. Chioma Ajunwa:
Chioma Ajunwa-Opara, MON, OLY, was born on 25th December 1970. Chioma Ajunwa is a former Nigerian athlete, notable for being the first Nigerian to win a gold medal at the 1996 Summer Olympics in Atlanta. Chioma Ajunwa is the first African woman to win an Olympic gold medal in a field event. Ajunwa is also a member of the Nigerian Police Force. She remains the only woman to compete both at the FIFA Women’s World Cup, as a footballer and the Olympics as a track and field athlete.
2. Daniel Amokachi:
Daniel Owefin Amokachi, born 30 December 1972, is a Nigerian football manager and former professional footballer.
His spell in international football saw him win the African Cup of Nations in 1994, and a gold medal at the 1996 Olympics.
3. Emmanuel Amunike:
Emmanuel Amunike is a Nigerian professional football manager and former professional football player. He played as a winger and is currently the assistant coach of the Nigeria national team.
Born on the 25th of December 1970, the former star played all the games at the 1996 Summer Olympics in Atlanta, scoring the winning goal in the finals as the national team won the gold medal.
4. Nduke Awazie:
Nduka Awazie was a Nigerian athlete and Olympic medalist and the 400 meters world Junior Champion. He was born on the 4th of April 1981 and attended Eastern Michigan University.
He won the world junior title at the 8th IAAF World Junior Championship held in 1998 in Annecy, France.
Awazie was part of the Nigerian team that won the silver medal in the 4 x 400 metres relay at the 2000 Olympics.
5. Tijani Babangida:
Tijani Babangida, born 25 September 1973, is a former Nigerian professional footballer, who played as a winger. Known for his pace, his playing style was sometimes compared to that of Marc Overmars. Babangida spent most of his playing career at Ajax. Overall, he played in five countries.
He played over 30 games for his national side, including four at the 1998 World Cup in France. He participated in two Africa Cup of Nations tournaments and won the 1996 Olympics with Nigeria.
6. Celestine Babayaro:
Celestine Hycieth Babayaro, born 29 August 1978, is a former Nigerian professional footballer who played as a left-back/midfielder.
Babayaro spent most of his career playing in the Premier League, mainly for Chelsea, from 1997 to 2005, and later for Newcastle United, from 2005 to 2008. He had a brief stint at MLS club LA Galaxy, but never officially played for the club. He retired as a free agent in 2010.
Babayaro represented the Nigeria national football team from 1995 to 2004 and was part of two Olympic squads, two World Cup squads and three African Cup of Nations squads.
7. Emmanuel Babayaro:
Emmanuel Hyacinth Babayaro, born 26 December 1976, is a Nigerian footballer. He is a goalkeeper, known mainly as the older brother of former Chelsea and Newcastle United player, Celestine Babayaro.
Emmanuel was a keen central midfielder as a child, but his younger brother Celestine would coax him to play in goal. It was in this position that he was noticed.
Babayaro was also part of Nigeria’s gold medal-winning team at the 1996 Olympics, a side in which Celestine also appeared.
8. Sunday Bada:
Sunday Bada, 22 June 1969 – 12 December 2011, was a Nigerian sprinter who specialized in the 400 metres event. He won three medals at the World Indoor Championships, including a gold medal in 1997. His personal best time was 44.63 seconds, and with 45.51 seconds indoors he holds the African indoor record. He set a national record in the 4 x 400 metres relay at the 2000 Olympics, where the Nigerian team also won gold medals after the disqualification of the US.
9. Jo Bonfrere:
Johannes-Franciscus Bonfrère, born 15 June 1946, is a Dutch football coach and former midfielder who spent his playing career with MVV Maastricht. In a long coaching career, Bonfrère managed several teams in Africa and Asia. He guided Nigeria to their victory in the 1996 Olympic Games.
10. Clement Chukwu:
Clement Chukwu, born 7 July 1973, is a former Nigerian athlete who specialized in the 200 and 400 metres.
After being banned from 1992–1996 for a positive drug test, he re-emerged at the 1996 Olympics over 400 metres, being knocked out in the quarter finals. He later won gold medals in this event at the 1997 Universiade and the 1998 African Championships, and a silver medal at the 1999 All-Africa Games.
11. Teslim Fatusi:
Teslim Fatusi, born 17 September 1977, is an Olympic gold medalist and Nigerian international footballer who played as a winger for Miami Dade FC.
Fatusi was part of Nigeria’s gold medal-winning team at the 1996 Olympics.
12. Fidelis Gadzama:
Born on October 20 1979, Fidelis Gadzama is an athlete and he holds an Olympic gold medal.
The Nigerian team finished second behind the US team in 2002. The US team was disqualified later that year and was stripped of their gold medal. On 21 July 2012, the 2000 Olympics 4 × 400 m relay medals were reallocated and Gadzama and Nigeria became the gold medalists.
13. Victor Ikpeba:
Victor Ikpeba Nosa, born 12 June 1973, is a former Nigerian professional footballer who played as a forward for both club and country. Ikpeba played 31 international matches and scored seven goals for Nigeria. He was a member of the Super Eagles team to the FIFA World Cups in 1994 but played and scored the lone goal against Bulgaria in the second game of the team at the 1998 FIFA World Cup. Ikpeba helped win the 1994 African Nations Cup and the Olympic football gold medal in 1996.
14. Dosu Joseph:
Joseph Dosu, born 19 June 1973, is a former football goalkeeper from Nigeria.
He was the only home-based player to be included in Nigeria’s 1996 Olympic team. Despite being the least experienced of the three goalkeepers, he ended up as the team’s choice goalkeeper. After winning the gold medal with the Super Eagles in the 1996 Olympics, he went on to play three more international games for Nigeria.
15. Nwankwo Kanu:
Nwankwo Kanu, OON, born 1 August 1976, is a former Nigerian professional footballer who played as a forward. He was a member of the Nigeria national team that won a gold medal at the 1996 Olympics. He also played for the Nigerian team – Iuanyanwu Nationale, the Dutch side – Ajax, Inter Milan of Italy, and English clubs Arsenal, West Bromwich Albion and Portsmouth.
16. Garba Lawal:
Garba Lawal, born 22 May 1974, is a former Nigerian professional footballer who played as a left midfielder. In 2014 he became the General Manager at Kaduna United F.C. and left his role in 2015.
He is currently with the technical department of the Nigeria Football Federation.
Lawal won the Olympic gold medal in 1996. He represented Nigeria at four editions of the African Cup of Nations: 2000, 2002, 2004 and 2006.
17. Jude Monye:
Jude Monye, born 16 November 1973, is a Nigerian athlete who specializes in the 400 metres. He is of Onicha-Ugbo, Delta State, Nigeria. Monye came to the United States to attend the Mississippi State University, where he obtained a degree in Geology.
Monye was a part of the Nigerian team that won the silver medal in the 4 x 400 metres relay at the 2000 Olympics. He also competed in the individual contest but was knocked out in the heats.
18. Abiodun Obafemi:
Abiodun Obafemi, born 25 December 1973 in Lagos, is a former Nigerian professional footballer. He is a defender who played most of his career in Germany and was part of Nigeria’s gold medal-winning team at the 1996 Olympics.
19. Kingsley Obiekwu:
Kingsley Obiekwu, born 12 November 1974, is a retired Nigerian footballer who played as a defender. He represented Nigeria at the international level and was a member of the squad that won the gold medal at the 1996 Olympics in Atlanta.
20. Jay-Jay Okocha:
Augustine Azuka Okocha, born 14 August 1973, commonly known as Jay-Jay Okocha, is a former Nigerian professional footballer who played as an attacking midfielder. He played 73 times for the Nigeria national team between 1993 and 2006, scoring 14 times, and was a member of three FIFA World Cup squads. He is regarded as one of the greatest football players from Africa.
In 1996, Okocha became a key member of an arguably more successful Nigerian side, later nicknamed the Dream Team by the Nigerian press -after the USA 1992 Olympic gold-winning basketball team.
21. Sunday Oliseh:
Sunday Ogochukwu Oliseh, born 14 September 1974, is a Nigerian football manager and former player. In his active playing career, he played as a midfielder and is widely regarded as one of the best African midfielders of all time.
Oliseh played 63 international matches and scored three goals for Nigeria, and played at the Football World Cups of 1994 and 1998. Oliseh also participated in the Olympic gold medal-winning team of 1996.
22. Mobi Oparaku:
Mobi Patrick Oparaku, born 1 December 1976, is a former Nigerian professional footballer who played as a defender.
Oparaku played six matches at the 1993 FIFA U-17 World Championship.
For the Nigeria senior national team, he was a participant at the 1996 Olympic Games, where Nigeria won the gold medal and at the 1998 FIFA World Cup.
23. Wilson Oruma:
Wilson Oruma, born 30 December 1976, is a former Nigerian professional footballer who played as a midfielder. He spent most of his career in France.
Oruma was part of the Nigeria U-17 team which won the 1993 FIFA U-17 World Championships, captaining his side and becoming the tournament’s top goalscorer with 6 goals. He played 19 international matches over 11 years for Nigeria and was part of the team that participated in the 1998 FIFA World Cup, where he scored in the only appearance he made in the tournament against Paraguay. He also was part of the squad that won the Olympic gold medal in 1996.
24. Enefiok Udo-Obong:
Enefiok Udo-Obong, born 22 May 1982, also known as Enee, is a Nigerian sprinter and accomplished athlete. He is the only Nigerian to win two Olympic medals – a gold medal at the 2000 Summer Olympics, and a bronze medal at the 2004 Summer Olympics. He is also a writer, speaker, businessman, and administrator.
25. Taribo West:
Taribo West, born 26 March 1974, is a Nigerian pastor and former professional footballer who played as a defender. He is best remembered for his various unusual and colourful hairstyles.
At the international level, West won 42 caps for Nigeria between 1994 and 2005, taking part in two World Cups and two African Championships. He also represented his country at the 1996 Olympics, winning a gold medal.