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Nafissatou "Nafi" Thiam (born 19 August 1994) is a Belgian athlete specializing in multi-event competition. She was born in Brussels to a Belgian mother and a Senegalese father. As of April 2019, Thiam holds the Belgian record in women's heptathlon and women's Javelin and in August 2019 she secured the Belgian women's long jump record. She won the gold medal in the heptathlon at the 2016 Summer Olympics, 2017 World Championships and the 2018 European Championships. She was voted IAAF World Athlete of the Year in 2017.

Nafissatou Thiam
Nafi Thiam Belgrade 2017.jpg
Personal information
Born (1994-08-19) 19 August 1994 (age 25)
Brussels,[1] Belgium
Height1.84 m (6 ft 0 in)
Weight69 kg (152 lb)[2]
Coached byRoger Lespagnard
Achievements and titles
Personal best(s)Heptathlon: 7013 points (3rd all time)
Pentathlon: 4870 points (10th all time)

Junior careerEdit

Nafi Thiam was born in Namur, Belgium. She started participating in athletics when she was seven years old, winning her first national age group titles in 2009, by which time she was already specializing in the heptathlon. Her favorite athlete at the time was Swedish heptathlete Carolina Klüft.[3]

At the 2011 World Youth Championships in Athletics in Lille, France, Thiam finished fourth in the heptathlon with a total of 5366 points. Then, as a first-year junior, she finished 14th at the 2012 World Junior Championships in Athletics in the heptathlon with a total of 5384 points.

On 3 February 2013, Thiam broke the junior indoor world record in the pentathlon at a meeting in Ghent with a total of 4558 points, breaking her personal best in 4 of the 5 events.[4] Carolina Klüft, who later became Olympic champion and triple world champion, had held the record since 2002 with 4535 points. In doing so Thiam became the first Belgian female athlete to break a world record.[5] However, in March 2013, the record was not ratified due to a lack of anti-doping control on the day it was achieved. The testing took place the next day, which was beyond the deadline specified by the IAAF, athletics' international governing body.[6]

On 18 July 2013 Thiam won the gold medal in the heptathlon at the European Junior Athletics Championships, achieving a new Belgian record of 6298 points.

Senior careerEdit

2014 she won the bronze medal at the European Championships in Heptalon.

2015, she won the silver medal at the European Indoor Championships in Pentathlon and at the European U23 Championships in High Jump.

On 13 August 2016, Thiam won the gold medal in heptathlon at the Olympic Games in Rio with 6810 points, achieving personal best marks in five of the seven disciplines and defeating reigning Olympic and World Champion Jessica Ennis-Hill of Great Britain and Northern Ireland.[7] She was the youngest Olympic heptathlon gold medalist in history.[8][9] She was elected Belgian flag bearer at the Olympic closing ceremony[10].

On 3 March 2017, Thiam won the pentathlon at the 2017 European Indoor Championships in Belgrade with a total of 4870 points.

On 28 May 2017, Thiam won the heptathlon at the Hypo-Meeting in Götzis, Austria with a total of 7013 points, again achieving personal best scores in five of the seven disciplines, making her the fourth woman to score 7000 points or higher in competition. As of July 2017, Thiam is third on the all-time list behind Jackie Joyner-Kersee of USA and Carolina Klüft. Her 59.32m Javelin throw in the Hypo-Meeting heptathlon in Götzis broke the Belgian record for the women's individual event.[11]

On 6 August 2017, Thiam went into the Athletics World Championships in London as hot favorite, winning the heptathlon world title and becoming the first Belgian to win a World Athletics Championships gold medal.[12]

On 10 August 2018 she won the gold medal at the 2018 European Championships, becoming only the third woman to win Olympic Games, World and European Championships in heptathlon, after Carolina Klüft and Jessica Ennis-Hill.

On 27 June 2019, Nafi Thiam won the Heptalon competition at the 2019 Decastar in Talence and then set a world record immediately afterwards. The Olympic champion has now qualified for the Tokyo Games in 2020.[13]

Thiam is a member of RFCL Athlétisme, an athletics club operating under the aegis of the Technical and Sports Department of the Royal Football Club de Liège, and is coached by Belgian former decathlete Roger Lespagnard.[14]

Besides being a professional athlete, Nafi studies geography at the University of Liège.[15] "I like climatology, I like geomorphology – how the earth is shaped by rivers. A lot of subjects, like a heptathlon. Maybe that's why I love it." she says.[16]

Thiam is a Unicef Goodwill Ambassdor for UNICEF Belgium.[17]


2015 Nafi Thiam was elected Belgian Sports woman of the year.

2016 she was European Athletics Rising Star of the Year, IAAF Rising Star of the Year and Belgian Sportswoman of the Year.

2017 Thiam became IAAF Female World Athlete of the Year. Furthermore she was among Forbes 30 under 30 for Europe and officially became UNICEF Ambassador. Again she won the award for Belgians Sportswoman of the Year.[18]

Championship podiumsEdit

Olympic Games

  • 2016, heptathlon: outdoor, gold medal (6810 points)

World Championships

  • 2017, heptathlon: outdoor, gold medal (6784 points)

European Championships

  • 2018, heptathlon: outdoor, gold medal (6816 points)
  • 2017, pentathlon: indoor, gold medal (4870 points)
  • 2015, pentathlon: indoor, silver medal (4696 points)
  • 2014, heptathlon: outdoor, bronze medal (6423 points)

Belgian National Championships

  • 2018, long jump: outdoor, gold medal (6m 60 cm)
  • 2016, pentathlon: indoor, gold medal (4678 points)
  • 2016, long jump: indoor, gold medal (6m 51 cm)
  • 2015, high jump: indoor, gold medal (1m 85 cm)
  • 2015, long jump: outdoor, gold medal (6m 40 cm)

Career achievement summaryEdit

1 x Olympic champion
1 x World champion
1 x European champion
1 x European Championships Bronze medallist
1 x European Indoor champion
1 x in Top 8 at World Indoor Championships
1 x European Indoor Championships Silver medallist
1 x European Junior champion
1 x in Top 8 at European Championships
1 x European U23 Championships Silver medallist
2 x Diamond League meeting winner
1 x in Top 8 at European Indoor Championships
1 x European Team Championships 1st League winner
2 x National champion
5 x National Indoor champion[19]

Personal bestsEdit

Event Performance Points Venue Date
100 metres hurdles 13.34 s 1074   Götzis, Austria 27 May 2017
High jump 2.02 m [a] 1264   Talence, France 22 June 2019
Shot put 15.41 m 888   Talence, France 22 June 2019
200 metres 24.37 s 945   Tournai, Belgium 18 May 2019
Long jump 6.86 m (NR) 1125   Birmingham, Great Britain 18 August 2019
Javelin throw 59.32 m (NR) 1041   Götzis, Austria 28 May 2017
800 metres 2:15.24 890   Götzis, Austria 28 May 2017
Heptathlon 7013 pts (NR) PB Total 7227   Götzis, Austria 28 May 2017
Event Performance Venue Date
60 metres hurdles 8.23 s   Belgrade, Serbia 3 March 2017
High jump 1.96 m   Belgrade, Serbia 3 March 2017
Shot put 15.52 m   Paris, France 9 February 2018
Long jump 6.51 m (NR)   Ghent, Belgium 20 February 2016
800 metres 2:21.18   Ghent, Belgium 3 February 2013
Pentathlon 4870 pts   Belgrade, Serbia 3 March 2017
a Heptathlon world record


  1. ^ "Page 12 Nafissatou Thiam" (PDF). Ligue Belge Francophone d'Athlétisme. 15 August 2016.
  2. ^
  3. ^ "Thiam Nafissatou" (PDF) (in French). Ligue belge francophone d'athlétisme. 2009. Retrieved 5 February 2013.
  4. ^ Vande Weyer, Philippe (3 February 2013). "Nafissatou Thiam bat le record du monde junior du pentathlon indoor". Le Soir. Retrieved 5 February 2013.
  5. ^ Jacobs, Hans (5 February 2013). "Is de nieuwe Tia Hellebaut opgestaan?". Het Nieuwsblad (in Dutch). Retrieved 5 February 2013.
  6. ^ "Le record du monde junior de Nafissatou Thiam, établi à Gand, ne sera pas homologué". Le Soir (in French). 20 March 2013. Retrieved 20 March 2013.
  7. ^ "Nafi Thiam kroont zich tot olympisch kampioene op de zevenkamp" (in Dutch). Sporza. 2016. Retrieved 14 August 2016.
  8. ^ "Nafissatou Thiam". Red Bull. Retrieved 29 July 2019.
  9. ^ "About". Nafi Thiam. Retrieved 29 July 2019.
  10. ^ "The Flagbearers for the Rio 2016 Closing Ceremony". 21 August 2016. Retrieved 22 August 2016.
  11. ^ "Nafissatou Thiam". Red Bull. Retrieved 29 July 2019.
  12. ^ "Nafissatou Thiam". Red Bull. Retrieved 29 July 2019.
  13. ^ "A new record for Nafissatou Thiam". Focus on Belgium. 27 June 2019. Retrieved 29 July 2019.
  14. ^ "Thiam Nafissatou" (PDF). Ligue belge francophone d'athlétisme. Retrieved 5 February 2013.
  15. ^ "Nafissatou Thiam cumule les récompenses !". Université de Liège. Archived from the original on 19 August 2014. Retrieved 16 August 2014.
  16. ^ Retrieved 29 July 2019. Missing or empty |title= (help)
  17. ^ "About". Nafi Thiam. Retrieved 29 July 2019.
  18. ^ "Stats". Nafi Thiam. Retrieved 29 July 2019.
  19. ^ "Nafissatou THIAM". Retrieved 29 July 2019.

External linksEdit