OG

Rohullah NIKPAI

A source of great comfort
A medal to revive hope
ROHULLAH NIKPAI AFG TAEKWONDO 1987-

In 2008, at the Beijing Games, Rohullah Nikpai stamped his mark on the history of his country of birth by gaining it its first Olympic medal. It had been an extremely long journey from his introduction to taekwondo at 10 years of age in a refugee camp in Iran.

Born in Kabul, incessant conflict forced him to leave Afghanistan. In 2004, he returned to his native country and pursued his training under a government-funded scheme and with support from the IOC’s Olympic Solidarity funding and training programme.

In the wake of his achievement in China, Nikpai returned home to a hero’s welcome from hundreds of thousands of Afghans, his victory a glimmer of hope in a country ravaged by war.

Four years later, in London, Nikpai repeated his performance, winning a second bronze medal. His sporting achievement is all the more remarkable since, before him, Afghanistan’s best result in the Olympic Games dated back to Tokyo in 1964.

Nikpai, who had known far from optimum training conditions, won the hearts of his compatriots within the space of two Olympiads. His holds a unique place in Afghan history.

A journey full of pitfalls

Beijing 2008

Return of a victor

London 2012

Spartan training conditions

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Photo credits

Towards greater Equality

Home page
International Olympic Committee (IOC)
Missouri Historical Society

1896 - 1936

Charlotte Cooper
Getty Images
International Olympic Committee (IOC)

Halet Cambel
Unknown rights

Lina Radke
International Olympic Committee (IOC)

Suzanne Lenglen
Getty Images
International Olympic Committee (IOC)

Alice Millat
Bibliothèque Nationale de France / Agence Rol (public domain)
Glasshouse Images / Alamy Stock Photo
International Olympic Committee (IOC)

Clara Zetkin
Wikimedia Creative Commons (public domain)

Emmeline Pankhurst
Central Press / Hulton Archive / Getty Images
Hulton Archive / Getty Images
Shawshots / Alamy Stock Photo
Topical Press Agency / Getty Images
Wikimedia Creative Commons / United States Library of Congress (public domain)

Annette Kellermann
General Photographic Agency / Hulton Archive / Getty Images
Hulton Archive / Getty Images
Museum of Applied Arts and Sciences
Wikimedia Creative Commons / United States Library of Congress (public domain)

Gertrude Ederlé
General Photographic Agency / Getty Images
Keystone / Hulton Archive / Getty Images
NY Daily News / Getty Images
Topical Press Agency / Getty Images

1936 - 1976

Billie Jean King
Central Press / Getty Images
Getty Images
Keystone / Getty Images
Wikimedia Creative Commons (public domain)

Eleanor Roosevelt
Everett Collection Historical / Alamy Stock Photo
Fox Photos / Getty Images
Keystone / Getty Images
World History Archive / Alamy Stock Photo

Enriqueta Basilio
International Olympic Committee (IOC)
The History Collection / Alamy Stock Photo

Fanny Blankers-Koen
Getty Images
International Olympic Committee (IOC)

Giuliana Chenal Minuzzo
Comitato Olimpico Nazionale Italiano (CONI)
International Olympic Committee (IOC)
Wikimedia Creative Commons / Magazine Avanguardia (public domain)

Kathrine Switzer
Bettmann Archive / Getty Images
Getty Images
Sports Illustrated / Getty Images

Simone De Beauvoir
Gallimard
Keystone / Getty Images
Sygma / Getty Images

1976 - 2004

Anita De Frantz
International Olympic Committee (IOC)

Annie Sugier
Annie Sugier
Centre Simone de Beauvoir (video)
Linda Weil-Curiel
Service photographique du Palais de l’Elysée
Soudeh Rad

Birgit Fischer
Getty Images
International Olympic Committee (IOC)

Hassiba Boulmerka
Getty Images
International Olympic Committee (IOC)

Lida Fariman
AFP / Getty Images
International Olympic Committee (IOC)

Nawal El Moutawakel
Bongarts / Getty Images
Getty Images
International Olympic Committee (IOC)

2004 – 2019

Charlotte Girard
Getty Images

Lindsey Van
Getty Images

Mary Kom
Getty Images
International Olympic Committee (IOC)

Monique Lamoureux
International Olympic Committee (IOC)

Robina Muqimyar
International Olympic Committee (IOC)

Inna Schevchenko
Alamy Stock Photo
Getty Images
Wikimedia Creative Commons / FEMEN Women's Movement
WENN Rights Ltd / Alamy Stock Photo

Malala Yousafzai
Alamy Stock Photo
Getty Images

Ada Hegerberg
AFP / Getty Images
Getty Images

Pauline Ado
Getty Images
ZUMA Press Inc. / Alamy Stock Photo


Towards greater Respect

1896 - 1936

George Poage
Getty Images
International Olympic Committee (IOC)
La Crosse Public Library
Murphy Library / University of Wisconsin-La Crosse
Missouri Historical Society

Jesse Owens
Getty Images
International Olympic Committee (IOC)
The Ohio State University

Jack Johnson
Getty Images
Granger Historical Picture Archive / Alamy Stock Photo
The Protected Art Archive / Alamy Stock Photo
Ullstein Bild / Getty Images
Wikimedia Creative Commons / Bettmann Archive (domaine public)
Wikimedia Creative Commons / United States Library of Congress (domaine public)

Alfonso Brown
Agence Meurisse / Bibliothèque Nationale de France
Gamma-Keystone / Getty Images
Getty Images

Marcus Garvey
Gado Images / Alamy Stock Photo
Getty Images
Granger Historical Picture Archive / Alamy Stock Photo
History and Art Collection / Alamy Stock Photo
Wikimedia Creative Commons (public domain)
Wikimedia Creative Commons / Grantham Bain Collection (public domain)
World History Archive / Alamy Stock Photo

1936 - 1976

Mohammed Ali
Bettmann Archive / Getty Images
Getty Images
International Olympic Committee (IOC)
Wikimedia Creative Commons / New-York World-Telegram and Sun Newspaper (public domain)

Abebe Bikila
International Olympic Committee (IOC) 
Getty Images

Tommie Smith
Archivio Angelo Cozzi / Mondadori Portfolio / Getty Images
Corbis / Getty Images
Getty Images
International Olympic Committee (IOC) 
Olympic Channel (video)
Paris Match / Getty Images

Sharon et Shirley Firth
Canadian Ski Museum
International Olympic Committee (IOC) 
Sharon et Shirley Firth / Canada’s Sports Hall of Fame
The Canadian Press

Jackie Robinson
Corbis / Getty Images
Getty Images
Wikimedia Creative Commons / Kansas City Call Newspaper, United States Library of Congress (public domain)
Wikimedia Creative Commons / United States Library of Congress (public domain)
Wikimedia Creative Commons / United States Mint (public domain)
Wikimedia Creative Commons / US National Archives and Records Administration (public domain)

Martin Luther King
Getty Images
Wikimedia Creative Commons / Birmingham AL Police Department (public domain)
Wikimedia Creative Commons / Plain Dealer Newspaper (public domain)
Wikimedia Creative Commons / US National Archives and Records Administration (public domain)
Wikimedia Creative Commons / White House Photo Office (public domain)

Harvey Milk
Alamy Stock Photo
Ted Sahl Collection / San José State University Special Collections and Archives
ZUMA Press Inc. / Alamy Stock Photo

1976 - 2004

Alwyn Morris
International Olympic Committee (IOC)
The Canadian Press

Cathy Freeman
Getty Images
International Olympic Committee (IOC) 

Martina Navratilova
Alamy Stock Photo
Getty Images
Hulton Archive / Getty Images
International Olympic Committee (IOC)
Keystone Pictures USA / Alamy Stock Photo
NY Daily News Archive / Getty Images

Nelson Mandela
Getty Images
International Olympic Committee (IOC) 

2004 – 2019

Rohullah Nikpai
AFP / Getty Images
Getty Images
International Olympic Committee (IOC) 

Tom Daley
Getty Images
Instagram and Facebook / Tom Daley Official
International Olympic Committee (IOC) 

Feyisa Lilesa
Getty Images
International Olympic Committee (IOC) 

Eric Radford
A Plus Creative
Getty Images
International Olympic Committee (IOC) 
Olympic Channel (video)

Stefany Hernandez
Getty Images
International Olympic Committee (IOC) 
Peace and Sport (video)

Stefany Hernandez
Chris Mosier
Ashley Hamm
Getty Images
Javier Diaz Martos
Olympic Channel (video)
Zhen Heinemann

Colin Kaepernick
Getty Images

Barack Obama
Getty Images
White House Photo Office (public domain)

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