Medals: 1 Gold (1 Total)
In 1996 Vénuste Niyongabo became the first and, as of 2013, the only Olympic champion from Burundi by winning the 5,000 metres at the Atlanta Olympics. Remarkably, he had only competed twice before in that event prior to winning the title. Niyongabo found his first fame in athletics when he won a silver medal in the 1,500 at the 1992 World Junior Championships. He competed in his first senior international the following year, but was eliminated in the 1,500 metre semi-finals of the 1993 World Championships. Niyongabo soon became one of the top 1,500 runners in the world, winning several major races in 1994 and 1995, and winning a bronze medal at the 1995 World Championships. At the 1996 Olympics Niyongabo was considered a potential winner in the 1,500, but Niyongabo decided to forfeit his place to compatriot Dieudonné Kwizera and run the 5K, which he won. After the Olympics Niyongabo struggled with several injuries and never again reached the same levels. He attempted to defend his title at the 2000 Olympics, but failed, placing only 15th in his semi-final. After finishing his sporting career Niyongabo worked for the Ekin division of Nike in Italy.
Personal Best: 5000 – 13:03.29 (1996).
|1996 Summer||22||Atlanta||Athletics||Men's 5,000 metres||Burundi||BDI||1||Gold|
|2000 Summer||26||Sydney||Athletics||Men's 5,000 metres||Burundi||BDI||15 h2 r1/2|
|1996 Summer||22||Atlanta||Athletics||Burundi||Semi-Finals||Heat Two||2||QU||14:03.48|
|1996 Summer||22||Atlanta||Athletics||Burundi||Round One||Heat Three||3||QU||13:54.53|
|2000 Summer||26||Sydney||Athletics||Burundi||Round One||Heat Two||15||13:49.57|