Akinyemi, Johny

Age: 27

Sport: Canoe Slalom

Country: Nigeria


Chew on this: You’re the first-ever canoe slalomist from your country set to compete in the Olympics. Your canoe was beat to shreds by an airline and the replacement arrived one week before you’re set to go to Rio. Because it’s not difficult enough to get used to new equipment right before the biggest event of your life, Mother Nature decides to throw you another curveball and weather delays one of your flights long enough that you miss the connection. On top of it, only two airlines will even transport your canoe–and all flights to Rio are booked.

Although Akinyemi was born and raised in England, he’s able to represent Nigeria due to his father’s heritage. According to the BBC, he has been to Nigeria though and notes that it’s interesting that in parts of Nigeria, canoes are still used for basic transportation, not necessarily competition.

After the Games, Akinyemi plans to give back to his adopted country by setting up a whitewater club in Calabar and encouraging the next generation of Nigerian canoeists.

Hopefully Akinyemi will be able to get to Rio in time for training and competition. His event runs from August 7-11.