Morolake Akinosun, Gold Medals and Equality for Black Women

ABOUT Morolake Akinosun

Morolake Akinosun is a Nigerian track and field athlete who grew up in the US and became a gold medalist in the Rio Olympics. She is a Nike sprinter, a 4-time NCAA champion, a Pan-American games gold medalist, and a Junior Championships gold medalist. She is also known as @misfasttwitch on social media. 

Gold Medals and Equality for Black Women

Perseverance, talent, and an ability to negotiate are all part of the qualities athletes must have to be successful in the professional setting. Overcoming external challenges that have nothing to do with talent and more with marketing concerns is also part of the trade. However, setting a goal and not giving up on yourself can make all the difference between pushing forward or giving up.

Morolake Akinosun is not one to accept things she hasn’t earned. When she was unable to classify for the Beijing Olympics representing the United States, she was offered a spot in the Nigerian team. She wouldn’t have had to compete for it because a spot for her was guaranteed. However, she decided to continue her training and try again for the US team to go to the Rio Olympics. There, she became an Olympic gold medalist.

Morolake sheds light on the inequalities in the US and the athletic world. Her experience as a  Black woman in the US has made her realize that Black women are always seen as less valuable until they prove their worth. In addition, there is patent gender inequality in the athletic world, which refers to differences in payment but also what is expected of them. While big personalities are valued in men, looks are the most important thing when it comes to women.

Highlights of the episode:

  • 03:19: Morolake Akinosun’s beginnings as a track and field athlete and the road that brought her to become an Olympic gold medalist.  
  • 06:29: Morolake grew up in the US but she considers Nigerian culture as a part of her, with every aspect of it being ingrained in who she is.
  • 16:32: Talent and performance are not the only considerations behind a shoe contract for a track and field athlete. Personality and, unfortunately in the case of women, their looks can be the deciding factor.
  • 17:42: Before social media existed, athletes were the original influencers, selling all types of products through ads and sponsorships. This was the biggest way for them to have a steady income. Today, track and field athletes make most of their money from shoe contracts and races. 
  • 20:59: Being a Black woman in America generally means being seen as “lesser than”. Black women are often only considered valuable once they have accomplished something.
  • 23:47: Gender inequality is strongly present in the athletic world, and it goes beyond differences in payment. Morolake has observed that male athletes are expected to have big personalities while women are expected to be beautiful.
  • 42:29: Training is the time to think about the things to improve but once in the race, it is time to focus on what is going on right there, maintaining a clear mind at all times.
  • 45:23: For Morolake, the best part of her career are the beautiful places she has seen and the amazing people she has met. They have become an important part of her journey.

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