Ethiopia’s performance at this year’s Olympics may be disappointing; however, with 8 medals (1 gold, 2 silver, 5 bronze), it is still in the top three list from Africa — Kenya taking the leading role with 13 medals (6 gold, 6 silver, 1 bronze) and South Africa following as the second best performer with 10 medals (2 gold, 6 silver, 2 bronze).
In the worldwide rankings, Kenya is #15, South Africa #30, and Ethiopia #44.
The golden years of Ethiopian track and field achievements might seem behind us, but there’s hope that the country will reclaim its respected position soon with the rise of the next generation of athletes that will repeat the Almaz and Haile-style world record breaking.
For now, Ethiopians are proud of the following Ethiopian athletes for their achievements in Rio 2016.
Almaz Ayana (Gold)
Tirunesh Dibaba (bronze)
Almaz Ayana (bronze)
Genzebe Dibaba (Silver)
Tamirat Tola (bronze)
Hagos Gebrhiwet (bronze)
Feyisa Lilesa (silver)
Mare Dibaba (bronze)
We would like to recognize Feyisa Lilesa for his determination to take a political stand in Rio. As an Oromo Ethiopian, he used his Marathon platform to raise awareness of the ongoing protests in Ethiopia, displaying his crossed hands, a sign which has become a symbol of resistance that Ethiopian Muslims popularized when they protested the government’s alleged meddling in religious affairs. Feyisa should ideally receive a hero welcome, but he has decided to seek asylum elsewhere fearing persecution.
Going back to Team Africa, the surprise winner in Rio:
Ivory Coast, which won its first ever Olympic gold medal in Taekwondo (men category). The country also won bronze medal in women’s category of Taekwondo.
Nigeria, though the most populous African country, brought only 1 bronze medal home.
Egypt’s result was also very poor — only 3 bronze medals despite being the biggest Arab nation in the Middle East and North Africa.
Other medal winners from Africa:
Algeria (2 silver)
Burundi (1 silver)
Niger (1 silver)
Tunisia (3 bronze)
Morocco (1 bronze)
Overall, 45 medals for Team Africa!
As an African Diaspora athlete, we congratulate Mo Farah (British citizen of Somali heritage), for his incredible double-double Olympic gold performance! We also celebrate Usain Bolt (of Jamaica) and all the Black athletes (from the US and other countries) who proved their invincibility to the world.