On this day 24 years ago, Mary Onyali became the first African woman to win an Olympic medal in the 200m, running a time of 22.38s in the final of the 1996 Olympics in Atlanta to grab Bronze, finishing behind Marie-José Perec (22.12s) and Merlene Ottey (22.24s) to add an individual medal to the relay Bronze she won four years prior in Barcelona.

Onyali ran times of 22.42s, 22.37s and 22.16s in the heats, quarterfinals and semifinals respectively and till today, remains the only African woman to have won a medal, either in the 100m or 200m at the Olympic Games.

In the same season, her next meet at the Zürich Weltklasse saw her break her National Record (NR) with a time of 22.07s which stood for 22 years, before it was bettered by Blessing Okagbare with 22.04s.

Oluwadare Popoola
Athletics is a special shade of life for me, and my confidence has received a boost since I started out covering the sport from the stands of my home, and now as a Junior Sportswriter with Making of Champions - an opportunity to get better at what I do.


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