After tearing two ligaments in his ankle during a January training session, Olu Olamigoke figured he had no shot of competing in the Summer Olympics. There wasn’t enough time for the Mountain View High School graduate to fully recover before attempting to qualify for the Tokyo Games scheduled to begin July 24.
But then Olamigoke’s outlook changed when the Summer Games were postponed for a year because of the coronavirus pandemic. All of a sudden with the games now running July 23-Aug. 8, 2021, Olamigoke’s plans were back on track.
“For me, it opened up things in the best way possible,” Olamigoke said.
The 29-year-old, who has dual U.S./Nigerian citizenship, competed in the 2016 Games for Nigeria, where he finished 32nd in the men’s triple jump.
To represent Nigeria again in 2021, Olamigoke only needs to reach the Olympic standard in his event. He injured himself four days before the start of the season, but once he’s healthy, Olamigoke will attempt to reach the qualifying mark.
Olamigoke called his injury a “freak accident.” It happened during a training exercise when his foot slipped off a box. Based on how he felt, Olamigoke assumed his mishap might be an issue. But he didn’t realize the severity of the injury until a doctor evaluated it and told him about the tears. Upon hearing the news, Olamigoke experienced a series of emotions.
“I had a little flipout moment, but I accepted it and moved from there,” Olamigoke said.
The momentary setback raised questions about Olamigoke’s future.
Olamigoke had moved to Atlanta in November of 2018 when he connected with Dwight Phillips. Phillips, a four-time world champion in the long jump and the 2004 Olympic gold medalist in the event, trained Olamigoke and everything was on schedule until the injury.
“They told me a full recovery would take six months,” Olamigoke said “That ruled me out of the Olympics.”
But now he’s grateful for one more opportunity before he retires. Olamigoke has no desire to compete beyond 2022.
“There’s no rush now,” Olamigoke said. “It’s one day at a time.”