Welcome to a 2012 Olympic games.
I am on my proceed to London to share of what a universe believes would be an Olympic games like no other in history. London is pulling out all a stops to surpass even itself.
Early this week we spent dual days with Lee Evans, one of a legends of a Olympics. In a rarified atmosphere of Mexico in 1968 not usually did he win a Olympic Gold award in a 400 metres scurry event, he set a new universe record in a routine that remained consecutive until Michael Johnson came along in Sydney, 20 years later, to break what a universe had started to consider competence never be equalled again. He participated again in Munich, Germany, in 1972 as partial of a US quarter-mile quartet.
With a lot of using still left in his legs he was lured to Nigeria by America-trained, ex-international contestant and member of a famous Nigerian ‘1949 UK Tourists’ football team, Mr. Isaac Akioye, to join him in an African sports series in Nigeria. Mr. Akioye had been hired by a University of Ife to start a dialect of Physical and Health Education in a university. In selling for a best hands in America, Akioye had offering this immature famous African American timid contestant a event to be a partial of his group in a university.
Africa was mysterious, and Lee was adventurous. He swallowed Akioye’s attract offshoot line and sinker. He came to Nigeria in 1975, visited a University during Ile Ife in Western Nigeria, fell in adore with a environment, and was totally impressed by a contentment of immature gifted Nigerian athletes he met. He after changed to a inhabitant group when Akioye himself was allocated a country’s second Director of Sports in that same year. Since then, Lee has never totally left Nigeria. Even in all his travels abroad, coaching athletes in opposite tools of a world, he has ferried behind and onward Nigeria several times. In a final 3 years he has been operative silently again in a nation tact a new era of runners in Cross Rivers State. He warns me to watch out for them in 3 to 4 year’s time.
On a eve of London 2012 Lee and we had a smashing conversation. None of it was meant to be published. But in looking forward to a games we can't not though remember some of a unequivocally engaging and intriguing discussions.
Lee accepted unequivocally good what Akioye wanted to do with Nigerian sports – to duplicate a American indication and make collegiate sports a substructure of Nigeria’s sports development. Lee accepted given he was a product himself. He removed that in a 1968 USA Olympic fortuitous all a athletes were possibly students or graduates of American universities! So, when he came to a nation for a initial time and saw a contentment of raw, healthy talent all over a country, he did not go behind to America for a subsequent 7 years. In those years Lee had a full palm in creation a University of Ife a home of entertainment growth in a country. He also detected and nurtured some of a good sprinters in a country’s history. He was instrumental to a chain of many of them in American universities.
Through his work with Akioye was suggested Nigeria’s healthy abyss in a sprints and jumps department. Nigeria’s prevalence in Africa and even in a Commonwealth have been undoubted given then. The list is unequivocally prolonged – Charlton Ehizuelen, Dele Udoh, Felix Imadiyi, Godwin Obasogie, Modupe Osikoya, Gloria Ayanlaja, Taiwo Ogunjobi, Chidi Imo, Henry Amike, Yusuf Ali, Adenekan Olopade, a Ezinwa brothers (Davidson and Osmond), Innocent Egbunike, etc. Check out all these names, they were all, during opposite times, a best sprinters and jumpers in Africa and a Commonwealth. Many of them were finalists in a World Athletics Championships and even a Olympic games.
In explaining his faith and adore (and frustration) for Nigerian athletics, Lee told me about a strength of American athletics.
In America, we can't do competition to a high turn if we do not go to school. Sport and propagandize are inseparable. He pronounced that a institutions are a best training drift given of their discipline, comforts and egghead approach.
Secondly, he says we should take a tighten demeanour during a story of a Olympics and a sprints events. Why is that sprinting has been dominated by a decades by Black group and women? What partial of a universe do these black athletes come from? In America, from a 100 to a 400 metres sprints events, a bomb power-sports, African Americans have ruled. Beyond America he says that it is expected that a 8 finalists in both a masculine and womanlike sprints events in London would be done adult of black athletes from certain tools of a universe that need a tighten scrutiny. Where do a athletes from Jamaica, Barbados, Trinidad and Tobago and even some Africans come from?
His end was shocking! If we snippet their story scrupulously we would find, he says, that they all are not only of African descent, though privately from West Africa!
Without definition to be derogative in any way, he says that all a black scurry athletes racing around a universe are descendants of Africans that were victims of slavery. Their ancestors were taken from a partial of Africa and shipped to a Americas and a West Indies, and by serve emigration to some tools of Europe, quite a UK!
So, what creates these blacks so strong, absolute and fast? Does it have anything to do with a hardship they faced? Not really. The instance of Nigerians during home but a knowledge some of their ancestors suffered, doing good also in a sprints and jumps provides good evidence.
A black male does not have to be a ‘slave’ to surpass in athletics. It is in his genes. Lee believes that if Nigeria, and some West African countries, should have a comforts and a fortify that propels American, and now Jamaican, entertainment development, in a matter of a few years, Nigeria, with a 160 million clever black population, will browbeat a universe of sprints and jumps! Even now, but doing much, a nation stays during a periphery of greatness, reminding those that have eyes to see of a possibilities that distortion ahead.
Recently, it was reported that former World Heavyweight champion, Evander Holyfield, visited Nigeria. He had sought by some new systematic means (now accessible we hear) to brand his roots by a laboratory hearing of his genes! The outcome reliable that his genes were traceable to a sold clan in West Africa, in Nigeria, and, quite in Badagry, nearby Lagos. Badagry is a unequivocally good famous worker outpost. As a result, Holyfield, we am also told, is currently started investing in some sports growth beginning in Badagry where scholarship now confirms he comes from.
Thats because Lee could be right. All a justification prove that his meditative is logical. Sprinting is for a West African black person, only as a center and prolonged stretch is for a East African. Thats because some people can contend that ‘ a black male can't float’ in looking during how he has fared in swimming.
Lee concludes. Thats because he can't leave a Nigerian sourroundings for now. As one of a biggest African American sprinters in story himself, he believes his ancestors also came from this partial of a world. His entrance to settle in Nigeria is a swindling of a elements to move him home. we was dumbfounded!
So, we am looking towards London 2012 with a somewhat opposite eye. My full attention, like a rest of a world’s, would now be a little inspection of all those that will line adult during a sprints events. How many competence be my different brothers and sisters from Abeokuta?