Nafissatou Thiam

Nafissatou Thiam

Date Of BirthAugust 19, 1994
Age29 years 8 months 4 days
Day of BirthFriday
Place Of BirthNamur, Belgium
Zodiac SignLeo
ProfessionsHigh jump , Athletics , Long jump , Heptathlon
Nickname Nafi
Full Name Nafissatou Nafi Thiam

Personal Information
Languages French , English
Body Features & Measurements
Height184 CM
6 Feet 0 Inches
Eye color Black
Hair color Black
Weight68 KG
150 lbs
Figure TypeRectangular
Family Information
Mother Danièle Denisty
Education Qualifications
Education (Graduation) Geography at the University of Liège
Alma Materthe University of Liège
Favorites, Hobbies, Likes/ Dislikes
Favorite Sportbasketball
Favorite sports person Carolina Klüft (3 time Olympic champion)
Social Networks, Web links
Facebook ProfileNafissatou Thiam Facebook Profile
Twitter ProfileNafissatou Thiam Twitter Profile
Official WebsiteNafissatou Thiam Official Website
Instagram ProfileNafissatou Thiam Instagram Profile
Contacts (Email)
AddressLBFA Attn Nafi Thiam Marathonlaan 119B 1020 Brussel BELGIUM
More Information
Friend Niels Pittomvils
Coaches Roger Lespagnard (former Olympic athlete decathlon; 2008-2022)
Michael Van der Plaetsen (2022-)


Nafissatou is a Belgian athlete who competes in Heptathlon, long jump, high jump. Nafissatou became the two time Olympic champion in heptathlon by winning both in 2016 (Rio) and 2020(Tokyo) Olympics. She also won gold medal at the 2017 IAAF World Athletics championships.

Childhood- Family

Nafissatou was born on 19th August 1994 to a Senegalese father and a Belgian father. She was brought up by her mother Danièle Denisty, her parents are divorced and her father has returned to Senagal, she has a sister and brothers.


She graduated from the University of Liège with a degree in Geography in September 2019.



Nafissatou started participating in athletics at the age of seven. She became a national champion for the first time in 2009 in her age group. Her heart was set on Heptathlon by that time already.

Nafi's first international outing was at the 2011 World Youth Championships held in Lille, France. She finished fourth with a score of 5366 points, behind her compatriot Marjolein Lindemans. Yusleidys Mendieta of Cuba won the gold medal with a score of 5697, a world leading score in their category that year.

In her first year of the Junior category, Nafi participated at the 2012 World Junior Championships in Athletics held at Estadi Olímpic Lluís Companys, Barcelona, Spain Nafi finished 14th with a score of 5384. The event was topped by Yorgelis Rodríguez of Cuba, with 5966 points.

In 2013, at the age of 19, Nafi broke the Junior world record in Pentathlon held at Ghent, Belgium  wtih a score of 4558. This was an immense performance, she broke her personal best in 4/5 of the events, it marked a drastic change from her previous performances. The record was previously held by Carolina Klüft of Sweden, an Olympic champion and Nafi's inspiration. She had held the record since 2002 with 4535 points. Nafi's record is not officialy ratified as there was no doping testing on that day, but the next day, as per IAFF norms, records are ratified only if blood samples were taken on the same day for testing.

At the 2013 European Junior Championships Heptathlon event held at Rieti, Italy Nafi won the gold medal with a score of 6298, a personal best as well as the Belgian national record, and clear 200 points ahead of the silver medal winner Sofia Linde of Sweden. Her compatriot Marjolein Lindemans won the bronze medal with a score of 5831.

She competed in the senior category for the first time in 2014. At the 2014 Europrean Athletics Championships held in Zürich, Switzerland she finished third with a score of 6423, behind Antoinette Nana Djimou of France (6551) and Nadine Broersen of Netherdlands (6498)

A the 2015 European Indoor Championships of Prague, she won the silver medal in pentathlon behind Katarina Johnson-Thompson(5000) of Great Britain with a total of 4696 points.

At the 2015 European Athletics U23 Championships held at Tallinn, Estonia, she jumped a high of 1.87m and won silver, Alessia Trost of Italy won Gold.

Rio Olympics- 2016

Nafissatou Thiam at the Rio Olympics

Nafi's greatest break came at the Rio Olympics of 2016. She won gold in the Heptathlon discipline with a score of 6810, comfortably ahead of the British heptathlete Jessica Ennis-Hill(6775). She topped High jump, Long jump and shot put disciplines, was a closed third in Javelin, her favorite discipline. Her performances in the running evetns, 110m hurdles, 200m sprint and the challenging 800m were decent enough to lift her to the top. 

With that she became the youngest ever heptathlete to win a gold medal at the Olympics. She achieved her best individual score at the evemt as well. She was honored with the responsibilities of carrying the Belgian flag at the closing ceremony.

At the 2017 European Indoor Championships held in Belgrade, Nafi scored 4870 points, a comfortable 100+ ahead of Austrian National Record holder Ivona Dadic.

Breaking the 7000 barrier

On 28th of May 2017, at the Hypo-Meeting in Götzis, Austria she achieved the rare feat of crossing 7000 points in Heptathlon. She scored 7013 points, becoming the fourth woman ever to score 7000 points in Heptathlon, and the third best score ever in Heptathlon. She also achieved the Belgian national record of 59.32m in women's Javelin.

At the 2017 IAAF World Championships in London, she scored 6784 points at the Heptathlon event ahead of Carolin Schäfer of Germany and Anouk Vetter of Netherlands. She topped High Jump, Long Jump and Shot put events.

At the 2018 European Athletics Championships held in Berlin, Germany from 6 to 12 August 2018, she schieved the rare feat of becoming the third woman haptathlete ever to win all of the Olympic  games, World Athletics and European Championship games gold. Carolina Klüft and Jessica Ennis-Hill are the only other two.

At the Décastar meeting held in Talence, France in June of 2019, set the Heptathlon world record in High Jump with a jump of 2.02m

At the 2019 IAAF World Athletics Championships held at the Khalifa International Stadium in Doha, Qatar, she faced an elbow injury which seriously limited her chances, she still succeeded to achieve the silver medal position with a score of 6677, just behind Great Britain's Katarina Johnson-Thompson, who achieved her personal best of 6981at the event.

At the 2021 European Athletics Indoor Championships, she topped three events (High jump, long jump, shot put) out of five and finished with a score of 4904 to secure gold medal, her country woman Noor Vidts secured Silver medal.

2020 Tokyo Olympics

Nafissatou Thiam at the Tokyo Olympics

Tokyo Olympics of 2020 was postponed to 2021 because of the Covid epidemic. Nafi scored 6791 and successfully defended her Gold medal from 2016.

Her closest competitor Katarina Johnson-Thompson of Great Britain was disqualified in the 200m event. Anouk Vetter of Netherlands won silver with a national record of 6689 points. Nafi's compatriot Noor Vidts achieved her personal best of 6590, but finished 4th, just behind Emma Oosterwegel of Netherlands. Nafi managed to top the disciplines of High Jump, Long Jump and Javelin Throw.

At the 2022 World Athletics Championships of July 2022, held at Hayward Field in Eugene, United States, she scored 6947 to win her second gold medal at the world championship events. Anouk Vetter of Netherlands yet again finished behind Nafi and secured the silver medal with a score of 6897.

At the European Indoor Championships held in Istanbul, Turkey in March 2023, she broke the Pentathlon world record with a score of 5055. Previously, the record was held by Nataliya Dobrynska of Ukraine with 5013 points


Best Performances by year- Heptathlon

Year Points Place Comments
2022 6947 Hayward Field, Eugene, USA World Athletics championships
2021 6791 Tokyo, Japan Olympic Games
2019 6677  Doha, Qatar World Athletics Championships
2018 6816 Berlin, Germany European Championships
2017 7013 Götzis, Austria  
2016  6810  Rio de Janeiro, Brazil Olympics
2014 6423 Letzigrund, Zürich, Switzerland European Athletics Championships
2013  6298  Rieti, Italy European Junior Athletics Championships
2012 5384 Barcelona, Catalonia, Spain World Junior Championships in Athletics
2011 5366 Lille, France 2011 World Youth Championships


Best Performances by year- Pentathlon

Year Points Place Comments
2023 5055 Istanbul, Turkey European Indoor Championships
2021 4904  Toruń, Poland 2021 European Athletics Indoor Championships
2017  4870 Belgrade, Serbia European Indoor Championships
2015 4696 Prague, Czech Republic European Indoor Championships
2013 4558 Ghent, Belgium Junior world indoor athletics


International records

  • Back to back Heptathlon Olympics Gold: Second female Heptathlete ever to win back to back gold medal at the Olympics, the only other athlete to do that is the American athlete Jackie Joyner-Kersee.
  • Triple Record: She is only the 3rd Heptathlon athlete ever to win a gold medal at all of- Olympics, World Championships & European championships
  • Heptathlon world record in High jump: She has the best score ever in Heptathlon High jump, she achieved it with a jump of 20.02m achieved in 2019.
  • Youngest Olympic Heptathlon Gold medalist: Nafissatou became the youngest ever in the history of the game to win a gold medal at the Olympics at the 2016 Rio Olympics
  • Fourth woman ever to cross 7000: In May of 2017, Nafi became one of the only 4 women ever to cross the 7000 points barrier in Heptathlon. She achieved the feat at the Hypo-Meeting in Götzis, Austria with a total score of 7013. The other three are: Jackie Joyner-Kersee (7291), Carolina Kluft (7032), Larisa Turchinskaya (7007)
  • Junior world indoor pentathlon record: In 2013, at the age of 19, Nafi broke the world record in Pentathlon held at Ghent, Belgium  wtih a score of 4558
  • Pentathlon world record: She broke the pentathlon world record in 2023 March with a score of 5055, crossing the previous best of 5013 set by Nataliya Dobrynska of Ukraine comfortably


Belgian records

  • Back to Gold at the Olympics: She is the only Belgian athlete to win back to back gold medal in her/ his discipline at the Olympics. She achieved this feat by winning gold atboth 2016 and 2020 Olympics Heptathlon.
  • First Belgian to win a World Athletics Championships gold medal: She achieved the feat at the Athletics World Championships held in London in 2017
  • Belgian National records: She holds a host of national records, across discplines:
    • Long jump record: She achieved the Belgian Long jump record in August 2019, she achieved her best of 6.86 at Birmingham Diamond League
    • Javelin Throw: She became the Javelin record holder with a throw of 59.32m in 2017
    • Heptathlon record: she is the top ranked Belgian Heptathlete ever in aggregate points
    • Pentathlon: She has the Belgian record, also the world record in Pentathlon with a score of 5055, set in 2023 at the Istanbul European championships
  • Nafissatou is a National Level gold medal winner in High jump as well as Long jump in her country Belgium.
  • First ever Belgian woman to hold the World Record: Nafi broke the previous world record in Pentathlon by scoring 5055 at the Ataköy Arena, Istanbul at the 2023 European Indoor Athletics championships.


Awards and Recognition

  • 2010: She was awarded the R.F.C.L. Trophy Promising talent
  • 2012: She was awarded the Golden Spike award best female talent in 2012, it is the highest sports medal in Belgium.
  • 2013: Golden Spike award
  • 2013: She won the Belgian Promising Talent of the Year for the first time in 2013, she has won it multiple times afterwards
  • 2014: Golden Spike award
  • 2014: Knight in the Walloon Order of Merit
  • 2014: Belgian Promising Talent of the Year
  • 2014: Belgian Sportswoman of the Year
  • 2015: Belgian Promising Talent of the Year
  • 2015: Golden Spike award
  • 2016: Golden Spike award
  • 2016: IAAF Female Rising Star of the Year
  • 2016: Belgian National Sports Merit Award
  • 2016: Belgian Sportswoman of the Year
  • 2016: Commander in the Walloon Order of Merit
  • 2016: European Athletics women's Rising Star of the Year
  • 2017: Belgian Promising Talent of the Year
  • 2017: Belgian Sportswoman of the Year
  • 2017: Golden Spike award
  • 2017: IAAF World Female Athlete of the Year: She was adjudged IAAF Female World Athlete of the Year for the year 2017
  • 2017: Forbes 30 under 30: She was listed in the Forbes 30 under 30 European list.
  • 2017: Unicef Goodwill Ambassdor: Nafi Thiam became the Belgium UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador in 2017
  • 2018: Golden Spike award
  • 2019: Golden Spike award
  • 2021: Golden Spike award
  • 2022: Belgian Promising Talent of the Year
  • 2023: Grand Officer in the Order of Leopold: In 2023, she was honored with Grand Officer in the Order of Leopold


Interesting Facts & Trivia

  • She has the individual best score of 7013 points in Heptathlon. She is the third in the alltime best list behind the legendary Jackie Joyner-Kersee & Nafi's favorite athlete Carolina Klüft.
  • Belgian best: Previous best score in women's heptathlon by a Belgian was 6298, Nafi broke it by a gigantic margin of 700+ points.
  • In 2013 Thiam became the first Belgian woman athlete to break a world record.
  • Thiam rose to fame after winning the Olympics Gold medal in 2016.
  • Flag bearer:
    • Thiam was the Belgian flag bearer at the 2016 Olympic closing ceremony, a great honor deserving a champion like her.
    • She was the Belgian flag bearer at the opening ceremony of the 2020 Tokyo Games
  • Her favorite breakfast includes: Soya milk coffee + Banana/Mint/Passion Fruit/Cruesli/ alpro vegetal alternative to yogourt
  • Practice: She usually runs in the morning as a part of her practice and practices other events after 3.30 in the evening.
  • Future plans: She wants to finish her degree in 4 years instead of 3, make best use of her age, take sports seriously for some time and then devote her time for master's degree.
  • She studied sceince in her high school.
  • RFCL Athlétisme: She has been training with RFCL club for some time now.
  • Nafi also used to train in basketball before taking athletics full time.
  • She likes Javelin throwing and High jump, while not a fan of 800m running
  • Usain Bolt gave her his number, she feels it is one of the best moments of her sporting career.
  • She had a knee injury during training.
  • She used to listen to Kelly Ross and Chris Brown during her training.
  • Before the events she takes biscuits & rice pudding.
  • Car: She owns an Audi Q2. She has promoted Audi in Belgium by appearing in commercials
  • Sponsors: Nike Belgium sponsors her



  • [Talking of her wide variety of interests in academic subjects] I like climatology, I like geomorphology (I like) A lot of subjects, like a heptathlon. Maybe that's why I love it (heptathlon).



  1. Nafissatou Thiam on wikipedia


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