Great news! Burkina Faso Wins First Olympic Medal!

With Refreshing Humility, Hugues Fabrice Zango, Wins Bronze in Triple Jump!

Well, it has happened AGAIN! A THIRD nation has broken into medal territory with the bronze medal winning performance of Hugues Fabrice Zango of Burkina Faso in the triple jump.

This report from the BBC has some details left out of the NBC coverage. For one thing, there is humility and determination to do better in Paris in ’24!

Hugues Fabrice Zango admitted he had mixed feelings as he won Burkina Faso’s first ever Olympic medal as he claimed bronze in the men’s triple jump.

The 28-year-old’s leap of 17.47 metres was 35cm short of his African outdoor record, which he set earlier this year, but was enough to claim third place just ahead of two-time Olympic silver-medallist Will Claye of the USA.

“It is a pleasure for me to be the first medallist for my country in the Olympics. It is a good thing for us,” Zango, the indoor world record holder, said after the final.

“I am a bit sad because I wasn’t able to produce my best performance and this is what makes the medal not as good as I wanted.

Zango, who plans to finish his Ph.D. in electrical engineering next year, already is ready to take on the world in 2024:

“I think that this pave the way so in the next Olympics we will get more medals.

“I am doing a PhD in electrical engineering and I will finish next year. I didn’t win the gold medal but I will try to push to continue training hard for the Paris Olympics to make history for my country.”

Well, I wouldn’t bet against him, if I wagered! Here is a report in French from a local Burkina Faso newspaper.

Le triple sauteur burkinabè Hugues Fabrice Zango s’est qualifié le mardi 3 août 2021 pour la finale de la discipline aux Jeux olympiques Tokyo 2020. L’une des chances sûres de médaille du Burkina au Japon a tout de même donné des frayeurs au peuple burkinabè avec un saut de 16,83 m très en deçà de sa performance actuelle. Il a dû bénéficier d’une sorte de repêchage pour être qualifié.

***

l y avait de quoi s’inquiéter vraiment, surtout qu’une possible première médaille burkinabè aux JO 2020 est devenue une affaire hautement nationale. Le président du Faso, Roch Kaboré, a troqué sa photo de profil sur sa page Facebook contre un portrait d’Hugues Zango, avec en sus le message suivant : «A Tokyo, ce soir, nous sommes de tout cœur avec toi. Vas-y Champion !» C’est tout dire.

Avec le zapping des chaînes cryptées sur les différentes disciplines olympiques du jour, beaucoup de téléspectateurs éveillés malgré l’heure tardive du concours ont, à un moment, cru à l’élimination de leur Etalon. Heureusement.

Après le concours, le triple sauteur lui-même était surpris. « Je n’étais pas tout simplement dans mon bon jour. Mais je promets de me réveiller pour la finale. C’est une sorte de pression que je me suis mise à moi-même », a-t-il confié à notre confrère de la TNB. Son entraîneur, Teddy Tamgho de dire que cela peut arriver dans une compétition. «Hugues va tout donner lors de la finale », a-t-il promis. C’est d’ailleurs le souhait de tout un peuple, qui n’a jamais été aussi proche d’une médaille olympique. La suite, c’est le 5-Août prochain ; tout un symbole.

Here is an English language report that most of my readers will enjoy. Zango won the medal on independence day for his nation: August 5, 1960.

The 27-year-old athlete did not hide his frustration to RFI. “I’m still sad because my whole season was pretty good and I was hoping for better results. I wanted to bring back the best metal for my country and for myself. Unfortunately, it fell on bronze,” said the man who holds the world indoor record since 16 January (18m07).

On the vault at the Tokyo Olympic stadium, the Stallion never let himself go. He appeared tense from the day of the qualifications. Zango even came close to being eliminated by only finishing 12th and last in the final. Pressure certainly. After winning the bronze medal at the World Championships in Doha in 2019, all 20 million Burkinabes expected to finally appear in the Olympic prize list. But he denies it. “I had no physical or mental problems. I was motivated for these Olympics and I didn’t necessarily feel any pressure, as some might think. I really gave it my all and I was in the same state as for the other competitions,” he explains.

Burkina Faso used to be Upper Volta but changed its name in 1986. The name means “Land of Incorruptible People”. Read more here. The capital is Ouagadougou. About 21.5 million people live in the land-locked nation.

Looking for Timbuktu? Sorry, that city is in Mali!

Sounds like Zango deserved his medal. Congrats for you and for Burkina Faso. Pursuant to the Sanders Olympic Policy, Burkina Faso and Hugues Fabrice Zango get the Official Sanders Tout, the victory lap, and here is the Burkina Faso national anthem. The words of the first verse are certainly intriguing:

Against the humiliating bondage of a thousand years
Rapacity came from afar to subjugate them for a hundred years.
Against the cynical malice in the shape
Of neo-colonialism and its petty local servants.
Many gave in and certain others resisted.
But the frustrations, the successes, the sweat, the blood
Have fortified our courageous people and fertilized its heroic struggle.

The words are attributed to Burkina Faso’s revolutionary president, Thomas Sankara. Sankara is much admired, Britannica says this about him:

A year after taking power, Sankara renamed the country Burkina Faso, meaning “Land of Incorruptible People,” and ordered all officials, including himself, to open their bank accounts to public scrutiny. His government was responsible for several concrete achievements: vaccination and housing projects, tree planting to hold back the Sahel, promotion of women’s rights, and curbing of waste in government.

Very admirable for sure. He also is cited with reaching out to neighboring Mali and resolving a short border war. But Sankara was assassinated in a coup in 1987. Here are two videos on Sankara.