Chierika “Coco” Ukogu (born October 2, 1992) is an American-born Nigerian professional rower. During the 2015 FISA African Olympic Qualification Regatta, she qualified to represent Nigeria at the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, making her the first Nigerian to achieve such feat.
She qualified for the quarter finals of the Women’s Single sculling event.
With no assistance from Nigeria whatsoever, this 23yr old Stanford Graduate and dual national, put medical school on hold to self fund her Olympic dream through a job, sponsorship, and ‘go fund me’ page. She trained with the US Olympic team, and made countless numerous personal and professional sacrifices to wear her country’s colours.
She epitomises the true spirit of the Olympics; courage, grit and steely determination.
The quarter finals begin at 1:10pm. I hope many of us will stop talking about Olympic tracksuits and watch the quarter finals to cheer this brave lady on.