The Burundian runner carried the flag for her country at the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio, where she concluded her competition with her first Olympic medal. Her silver medal was the first Olympic medal for Burundi since 1996. She finished the women’s 800m in a time of 1:56.49, behind Caster Semenya of South Africa.
In 2017, Niyonsaba earned a new personal best and national record at the Monaco Diamond League after winning the 800m there in a time of 1:55.47, ranking her as the World No. 1. heading into the 2017 World Championships in London.
Born into a poor family in eastern Burundi in the province of Ruyigi, the 25-year-old has gone on to become a role model for many women in Burundi and an icon in world athletics. She recently won the 800m at the IAAF World Indoor Championships Birmingham 2018.