Blessing Okagbare is a Nigerian track and field athlete, who is an Olympic and IAAF World Championships medalist in the long jump, and a world medalist in the 200 meters.
Okagbare’s Olympic medal wins serve as reminders of excellence to all of us. she has spent many years training to be a champion. Along the way, she has achieved multiple milestones, actively taken part in smaller competitions and peaked at the right moment. When she puts her hard-earned skills into practice and keep her eyes on the prize, it’s her time to shine.
On Aug. 18, 2008, was the day of the Olympic women’s long jump qualifying round. Okagbare says she was overwhelmed walking into the 91,000-seat track and field stadium known as the Bird’s Nest.
The top 12 out of 44 jumpers would advance to the final round. Okagbare jumped 6.59 meters. And finished 13th overall Okagbare had fallen just one centimeter short of the opportunity of a lifetime — just one spot short of the chance to jump in the final and earn an Olympic medal for her country.
“I was crying,” Okagbare says. “I was staring at my coach. He felt so bad for me.”
“You know, I was looking for the first plane home, to be quite honest,” Robinson, her coach says.
“He had called the airline, and they said they don’t have no space for the flight,” Okagbare says. “Like, he can’t change it, nothing — went to the airport, nothing.”
One of the long jump finalists, Ukrainian Lyudmila Blonska, had been disqualified for doping and was replaced with Okagbare surprisingly.
On Friday, Aug. 22, 2008, it was time for the Olympic long jump final, Okagbare was the last jumper in the starting order, Okagbare took every jump like it was her last, and it was worth it, Okagbare recorded a personal-best 6.91 meters — good enough for the bronze medal. And she got that medal against all odds,
Okagbare was overcome with happiness as she took the podium to receive the bronze. In the span of four days, Okagbare went from falling short of her dream to earning a career in track and field.