The Power of One: Inspiring stories behind a country’s only Olympic medal

Olympic Channel

In the history of the modern Olympic Games, there is one athlete who has won 28 career Olympic medals, but there are also entire countries that have won just one. The Power of One, the new, six-episode original series from the Olympic Channel, delves into the story behind a country’s Olympic medal and how the impact of that one medal has changed the local and national community forever. 


Episodes include the inspiring story of Majlinda Kelmendi, the judo athlete who became the first Kosovar to win an Olympic medal for this Balkan country at the Olympic Games Rio 2016. Majlinda’s gold medal reinforced the pride of this young nation, which became recognised by the International OIympic Committee in 2014. Now, Kelmendi is a national figure.

“Representing Kosovo in international competitions means everything to me. For me, it’s life,” said Kelmendi. “People in Kosovo look at me as a hero. I just proved to them that if they want something, they can have it. If they want to be Olympic champions, they can be.”

“The Power of One” also tells the story of Erick Barrondo, who won Guatemala‘s first-ever Olympic medal at the Olympic Games London 2012 by taking home silver in the 20km race walk. In his football-crazed country, Barrondo’s medal highlighted to a whole generation the importance of goal-setting and also brought about a significant increase in the number of people practising racewalking, mostly in his birth region of Alta Verapaz.

“The moment they placed the medal around my neck, conveniently by a Guatemalan, it brought back all the years of struggle, of getting up early in the morning, staying up late at night, of the times I went to bed hungry,” said Barrondo. “Because of the Olympic medal, many kids have realised that sports open the doors to escape poverty, maybe not to become rich, but to have stability and an opportunity to live a better life.”

In addition to Kosovo and Guatemala, countries whose Olympic medal moments are featured in “The Power of One” include Cyprus, Jordan, Montenegro and Togo.

Olympic Channel Episode Guide: The Power of One

Episode 1 – How Guatemala’s Olympic medal inspired a generation of racewalkers  
See how Erick Barrondo’s racewalking silver medal from London 2012 inspired a new generation of young athletes to take up racewalking.  
Episode 2 – How Cyprus’ Olympic medal brought hope to a nation in crisis  
Discover how the silver medal Pavlos Kontides won for Cyprus at London 2012 in sailing brought hope to the nation during a time of crisis.   

Episode 3 – How Jordan’s Olympic medal turned Ahmad Abughaush into an icon  
When Ahmad Abughaush won Jordan’s first-ever Olympic gold medal in 2016, he instantly became an icon for his fellow countrymen.   

Episode 4 – How Majlinda Kelmendi’s historic Olympic medal put Kosovo on the map  
Majlinda Kelmendi’s gold medal in Rio put Kosovo at the top of the podium for the first time soon after being welcomed into the Olympic family.  

Episode 5 – How the “Fighting Lionesses” won Montenegro’s sole Olympic medal   
How the women’s handball team won their country’s first-ever Olympic medal in 2012 and became the “Fighting Lionesses” in the process.  

Episode 6 – How Benjamin Boukpeti returned home and won Togo’s only Olympic medal  
Born and raised in France, slalom canoeist Benjamin Boukpeti opted to represent Togo in Beijing and won a historic Olympic medal. 

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