Ezinne Okparaebo (born 3 March 1988 in the state of Imo in southern Nigeria) is Scandinavia’s fastest woman ever over 60m and 100m, representing Norway. Okparaebo holds the Norwegian national records over 60 meters and 100 meters and has won the 100m nationals 13 times. Learn more about the poster girl for Norwegian athletics!
Okparaebo moved to Norway as a nine-year old and grew up at Ammerud, Oslo. She visited the Haugen skole, where her sprinting talent was discovered on a sports school day. She has been the top female sprinter in Norway since 2005, and is competing for the club IL Norna-Salhus. She won the silver medal at 60 meters for women in the 2009 European Athletics Indoor Championships and the bronze medal in the same discipline in 2011 European Athletics Indoor Championships.
Okparaebo is Norway’s fastest woman of all time and broke through as a 17-year-old in 2005. That year she won NM gold in the 100 meters. She is yet another athlete of Nigerian origin who has found fame and fortune running for the colors of her adopted country. As an athlete, Okparaebo’s fame in Norway is surpassed perhaps only by Gambian-born Jaysuma Saidy Ndure who has PBs of 9.99s & 19.89s in the 100 and 200 meters respectively.
Assuming Okparaebo had represented Nigeria, her time of 11.10s would not place her in Nigeria’s All-time Top 5 list in the 100 metres (Okagbare, Ajunwa, Alozie, Onyali, Osayomi). The Puma-sponsored Athlete is the poster child for Norwegian Athletics, and her stunning good looks and eye for fashion mean that she would be as comfortable on the cover of Vogue or Sports Illustrated as she is on the track.
16 years after she took her first NM gold, Ezinne Okparaebo (33) has decided she is quitting at her highest levels.
Okparaebo has founded Ezinne Athletics (EA) which is a unique and long-awaited sports offer for all fitness-loving girls aged 10-16 years. EA is especially designed for girls with multicultural backgrounds, and aims to strengthen, integrate, and provide hope for girls for generations to come. The offer is a low-threshold offer and thus free. Finances must thus not be a barrier to participation or inclusion in sports.
The Poster Girl for Norwegian Athletics! Written by Tor Kjolberg
All photos © Ezinne Athletics if not otherwise noted. Feature image (on top) © Alchetron