The 2008 olympics is over and i’m missing it already!!! Why? well, for starters, it really helped kill boredom A LOT!! plus for the first time, I actually watched a wide range of games and got to discover new ones that i did not even realise existed (my coverage of the games were hitherto largely dependent on the areas covered by NTA so dont blame me). It was a pleasure watching history being made by Usain Bolt live on the BBC in both the 200 and 100 metre events, I also discovered a very fascinating event called ‘synchronised swimming’ which to my embarrassment i’m told has been in existence for donkey years now…??? Its such a cool sport!!!! pity i cant swim! I never knew too that canoeing was an olympic sport, i mean??? and darts? shooting? eventing? the most amazing discovery and ofcourse the biggest event for the British was the ‘paledrome’ (dunno if its called cycling as well) but that was cool too…..i could go on and on as i’m sure its obvious i spent lots of time actually watching these stuff (jeez, how jobless can one be uhm?) so the big question is what am i gonna do with my time now? Ofcourse the real question should actually be why the hell i aint doing my dissertation but hey…..thats my business!!! I can chose to graduate or not graduate as i please…..i’m miles away from home…who’s gonna spank me hmm?
Anyways, I digress. I was saying? oh yes, why my darling homeland f…..ed up in Beijing. Did i at any point mention that the track and field events used to be my favourites before i came to the UK? well I think i speak for most Nigerians when i say our favs were the track events, (well, minus soccer ofcourse, we’re suckers for soccer already). One good reason for this would probably be that we were good at it and while i was growing up,that was just about all that NTA would budge to show anyways, so we were pretty much stuck with athletics. I dont know if most Nigerians watch or have any interest in the olympics (i mean come on…peeps aint even had a good meal in days….they’ve got more important things to worry about!) but I’ve always been a big fan. I remember the good old days when Nigerian athletes were real competitors in the games..funny i cant remember the names of those American athletes anymore, i believe Carl Lewis was one of them, Michael Johnson too? but i do remember our Nigerian atheletes though (how can I forget?). I recall jumping up and down our tiny living room when i was what?…12 or something, whenever Mary Onyali (bless that woman) won us a medal. I remember Sunday Bada, Falilat Ogunkoya, Chioma Ajunwa….jeez,just mentioning their names brings back memories mehn, i’m feeling all nonstalgic!!.
Now, those were the days. We werent good at too many events but those we were good at…we held our forte. We were always sure of a medal in athletics and football atleast, i think we had a few conquests in high jump too and a few others but atleast, we could boast of a couple of medals? and we werent like at the rock bottom on the medal table like we are today.
I must say that those memories above are all i remember about the olympics in Nigeria,while i was at Uni, i obviously wasnt home and even if i was, i dont think we were making any serious waves on the medal table so no one was paying attention, even me! I dont know what hapenned, i must have somehow lost the interest since we didnt have any shining athletes like we used to but didnt we? Needless to say that being the UK has once again aroused my love for the olympics as its almost duty bound to watch the games and you need to see the joy and hype the athletes get when they get a medal (any medal) in even the most mundane games….and when they dont get medals….they’re still given all the support they need and not castigated.
It broke my heart to watch the olympics this year after looking forward to seeing my naija athletes only to find them struglling to qualify for various events and when they did qualify, they often stood no chance of wining. Is it that we dont have good athletes? I know that can never be true! In a country full of roughly 120 million people, we should atleast be able to find a couple atleast right? surely, there will be a young man somewhere….east,north,south,niger delta…name it who can do the 100 metre race gracefully and not come 8th right? There should be a young lady somewhere who can do the tripple jump right? even the beach ball thingy….by the time we organise a national competition for all those playing the darn thing at Lekki or Alpha beach, surely, we’ll get a team that would have given the Brazilian team a good run for their medals right? And what about volley ball? come on…even my team in high school in Nigeria could step up to the teams i saw at beijing now abi?
Dont get me wrong, by no means am i implying that these games are easy peezy or that the teams/athletes who excelled in them are less deserving of their medals…all i’m saying is, we could have been there, we could have had a chance had we been given the opportunity by our leaders. Those teams didnt just appear their through magic, they were given the chance to do their thing in Beijing because their governments were bothered to get people to scout for them,train them for years and sponsor them to show their talents for the world to see:
That girl in high school in Niger state, Nigeria who can run like the wind, deserves that chance dont you think? That boy who can play tennis and dreams of beating Raphael Nadal someday or breaking Federer’s record deserves that chance too doesnt he? To rub insult upon injury sef, some countries have already bought most our promising atheletes when we refused to appreciate them. Abi how malaysian go dey bear ‘achike’ for name or someone from Qatar wey dey bear Yoruba name? Is it their fault that the our government doesnt really care? and if our leaders dont care shouldnt we as citizens be bothered that the dreams of our generation and those behind us might never be fulfilled? Do we as Nigerians realise that not all youths wanna be doctors or lawyers…yes, these professions are fantastic and highly rewarding but not everyone can be a doctor,infact save for our parents interference,most youths would gladly swap their degrees for the chance to be something else that they wanna be. Having a degree isnt all that matters….but living the dream that you’ve wanted and being happy doing what you do is what gets you fulfilled. We might be amazed about how many kids would rather be the next Usain Bolt or Michael Phelps than have a degree if only they were given the chance…hell, I’ld trade my masters degree to be able to just swim how much more be a synchronised swimmer for my country…that will be the day mehn…that will be the day.
We might make excuses as much as we want about the economic situation in the country and whine about there being no electricity, money,jobs…bla bla bla…but maybe…just maybe…if we pay a little attention to little things like encouraging our youths to train in different sports,arts and stuff, we might just find some solace in the fact that atleast….our youths arent being wasted. Imagine if in almost every event, we had a Nigerian standing on the podium and the Nigerian anthem being played while the flag is hoisted…imagine that!…..imagine, if Nigeria, was the name on the lips of every commentor in Beijing,imagine if the world was standing and staring at Nigerian athletes in Beijing the way i was gaping at Usain Bolt when he broke the 200 metres world record, imagine the press hunting down and running after a Nigerian athlete for his/her photographs, i mean with all these bad publicity we’ve been having, dont you think a little good media attention would help our image? If the government wont do it…we’ve got many corporate bodies who could,but why would they?….oh i forgot, they’re busy raising money for Obama who doesnt need it……or celebrating a Police IG who for the life of me hasnt done jack shit for me! And even if someone did sponsor these people, would we welcome them back after their achievements with open arms or would we have more important things to do than embrace them and honour them for doing us proud. In the Uk, you know, you could get an MBE (one of the most prestigous awards from the queen) for getting a gold medal at the olympics? would we give our athletes a CFR? CON? or all those wetin call national honours that we have.
I’m not bothered sha…are you? I’m just pissed….that I’m a Nigerian youth and i so want to be able to compete for that synchronised swimming, i wanna be able to dance like Bolt did in front of millions of people watching me in awe, I wanna be able to fly the Nigerian Flag at London 2012 and say….I AM THE NUMBER ONE!!!! ….is that too much to ask?