With the 2020 Tokyo Summer Games scheduled to start in just over four months, we take a look back at Africa’s five greatest Olympic moments.
Reggie Walker becomes first African-born Gold medal winner
The first African-born person to win Olympic Gold was Durban native Reginald ‘Reggie’ Walker, who triumphed as an outsider in the 100m sprint at the 1908 Olympic Games in London. Walker, who remains the youngest 100m champion in Olympic history (he was just 19 years and 128 days old at the time), almost didn’t make it to the Olympics due to a lack of funding, until a Natal sportswriter collected money to support his trip!
Abebe Bikila defends his Marathon title
Ethiopian long-distance runner Abebe Bikila became the first sub-Saharan, Ethiopian and black African to win Olympic Gold when he triumphed – while running barefoot – in the Marathon at the 1960 Games in Rome. He then became the first man in history to successfully defend the Marathon title when he finished first in the distance at the 1964 Games in Tokyo. He is widely regarded as the spark which lit the flame of East Africa’s dominance in long-distance running.
Tirunesh Dibaba’s 5000m-10000m double
Known as the ‘Baby Faced Destroyer’, Ethiopian Tirunseh Dibaba became the first woman to win the 10,000m and 5,000m events in the same Olympics when she claimed a Gold double at Beijing 2008. She won the 10,000 in an Olympic-record time of 29:54.66 and seven days later backed it up by dethroning champion Meseret Defar by 2.72 seconds in the 5,000m. Her third Olympic Gold arrived in 2012 in London when she defended the 10,000m title.
Nigeria claim football Gold in Atlanta
The first African team to win Olympic Gold in a football tournament was Nigeria’s 1996 team at the Atlanta Games. A squad led by Dutch coach Jo Bonfrere and featuring future legends such as Nwankwo Kanu, Jay-Jay Okocha and Sunday Oliseh finished second in their group but then ousted Mexico, Brazil (the team they were runners-up to in the group phase) and Argentina to claim Gold. The final saw the West African side twice come from behind before triumphing with a last-gasp goal from Emmanuel Amunike.
The ‘Awesome Foursome’ deny Michael Phelps an Olympic record
The biggest upset of recent Olympic history arrived at Athens 2004 when South Africa’s ‘Awesome Foursome’ of Roland Schoeman, Lyndon Ferns, Darian Townsend and Ryk Neethling broke the world record to claim the swimming 4x100m relay Gold. In the process they denied American Michael Phelps the chance to break Mark Spitz's Olympic record of seven golds at the 1972 Games – though Phelps would eclipse this record four years later in Beijing.
Beat the break with Betway
With all of the top leagues, matches and tournaments being postponed, we’ve got our super subs – betgames, Live Casino and Lucky Numbers – ready to step in and keep the action alive until your favourite matches kick-off again. Beat the break and bet on anyone of our other exciting products including betgames, Live Casino and Lucky Numbers.
For all the latest sports news, betting tips and promotions, follow Betway Nigeria on
Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube