|Born||19 August 1994|
|Height||1.84 m (6 ft 0 in)|
|Weight||69 kg (152 lb)|
|Coached by||Michael Van der Plaetsen (2022–)|
Roger Lespagnard (2008–2022)
|Achievements and titles|
Nafissatou "Nafi" Thiam (French pronunciation: [tʃam]; born 19 August 1994) is a Belgian athlete specializing in multi-event competition. Thiam is a two-time Olympic gold medalist, winning the heptathlon event at the 2016 and 2020 Summer Olympics. She is the only Belgian athlete, male or female, to successfully defend an Olympic title and only the second woman after Jackie Joyner-Kersee to win back-to-back Olympic titles in the event.
She won the gold medals at the 2017 and 2022 World Championships and 2018 and 2022 European Championships as well as the silver medal at the 2019 World Championships. She was voted IAAF World Athlete of the Year in 2017. She was a Belgian flag bearer at the opening ceremony of the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.
In May 2017, at the Hypo-Meeting in Götzis, Austria, she became only the fourth woman to break the heptathlon 7000 point-barrier.
As of October 2022, Thiam holds the Belgian records in women's heptathlon, women's javelin and women's long jump (out and indoor). She set a new world record for the high jump discipline within a women's heptathlon competition in 2019.
Nafissatou Thiam was born in Brussels to a Belgian mother and Senegalese father. 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.
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. 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. 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.
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.
2014, she won the bronze medal at the European Championships in Heptathlon.
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. She was the youngest Olympic heptathlon gold medalist in history. She was elected Belgian flag bearer at the Olympic closing ceremony.
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.
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.
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, Thiam won the heptathlon competition at the 2019 Decastar in Talence, setting a women's heptathlon high jump world record of 2.02m.
On 2 October 2019, Thiam again went into the World Championships as world lead, and favourite for gold, but was expected to face stronger competition than in 2017 from erstwhile rival and 2018 European runner-up, Great Britain's Katarina Johnson-Thompson. In the event, Thiam succumbed to an elbow injury that hindered her javelin, while Johnson-Thompson recorded a huge personal best of 6981 points, a national record and the sixth highest competition score in history to win comfortably. Thiam's performance was still good enough for the silver medal.
On 5 March 2021, Thiam won the pentathlon at the 2021 European Indoor Championships in Torun with a total of 4904 points.
On 5 August 2021 she won her second gold medal at the Olympic Games with a total of 6791 points.
On 18 July 2022 she won her second gold medal at the 2022 World Athletics Championships with a total of 6947 points.
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. She was coached by Belgian former decathlete Roger Lespagnard for 14 years but she put an end to their collaboration in October 2022.
Besides being a professional athlete, Thiam studied geography at the University of Liège. "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 said. She graduated from university with a bachelor degree in September 2019.
Thiam is a UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador for UNICEF Belgium.
Belgian National Championships
|2 x Olympic champion|
|2 x World champion|
|2 x European champion|
|1 x European Championships Bronze medallist|
|2 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|
|3 x National champion|
|5 x National Indoor champion|
|100 metres hurdles||13.21 s||1093||Eugene, USA||17 July 2022|
|High jump||2.02 m||1264||Talence, France||22 June 2019||[n 1]|
|Shot put||15.41 m||888||Talence, France||22 June 2019|
|200 metres||24.37 s||945||Gaurain-Ramecroix, Belgium||18 May 2019|
|Long jump||6.86 m||1125||Birmingham, Great Britain||18 August 2019||NR|
|Javelin throw||59.32 m||1041||Götzis, Austria||28 May 2017||NR|
|800 metres||2:13.00||921||Eugene, USA||18 July 2022|
|Heptathlon||7013 pts||Total: 7277||Götzis, Austria||28 May 2017||NR|
|60 metres hurdles||8.23 s||1077||Belgrade, Serbia||3 March 2017|
|High jump||1.96 m||1184||Belgrade, Serbia||3 March 2017|
|Shot put||15.52 m||896||Eaubonne, France||9 February 2018|
|Long jump||6.79 m||1102||Liévin, France||1 March 2020||NR|
|800 metres||2:18.80||840||Torun, Poland||5 March 2021|
|Pentathlon||4904 pts||Total: 5099||Torun, Poland||5 March 2021|
In 2017, Thiam officially became UNICEF Ambassador.