There are several reasons why I love the new Nike Air Zoom Elite 8 – the campaign video is amazing! It features an all-star athlete cast, which brings me to my favourite reason – Nigeria’s world class sprinter and long jumper Blessing Okagbare represents Africa in the ‘So Fast’ campaign.
At 26, Blessing Okagbare is Africa’s fastest woman, with a record best of 10.79 seconds. Blessing’s first shot at ‘sport light’ was at the age of 19, when she won a bronze medal in the women’s long jump event, at the 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing. Then came her streak of wins at the African Championships in 2010. By 2013, she has established herself as a world class sprinter, after beating the 100 metres Olympic gold medalist (Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce)’s record.
The timing for Nike’s new campaign couldn’t be more perfect, as Okagbare prepares to take part in in the 15th World Track and Field Championships starting tomorrow, Saturday, the 22nd to 30th of August in Beijing. “I’d like to break 10.7 seconds for the 100 and 21.8 seconds for the 200, and I want to jump further than 7.3 meters in the long jump” she tells Nike in an interview.
Growing up, Okagbare was only a jumper, often competing in high, long and triple jumps. Her talent got her a scholarship to study in the United States, where coaches noticed that she actually is a sprinter. “They said to me: You aren’t a jumper, but a sprinter who can jump.” Okagbare took their word for it and started training as a runner. “Then, I set a new goal to be a runner. It’s all about setting goals and keeping your mind set on those goals. Don’t ever give up on yourself.” Today, her focused and dedicated transition into a runner has paid off.
Before she steps on to track, Okagbare takes almonds after warm ups, and listens to a ‘victory song’ that inspires her. She holds several titles from her time at the University of Texas. Her coach, and former Nigerian president Goodluck Jonathan are her mentors.
The Air Zoom Elite 8 is the lightest of Nike’s Zoom collection that includes the Nike Air Zoom Pegasus 32, Nike Air Zoom Odyssey, Nike Air Zoom Structure 19 and Nike Air Zoom Vomero 10. It features minimalistic cushioning designed for speed, and created for for athletes who want to stay fast and light on their feet in training or competition.