Name: Odunayo Andrew Akinwolere
Date of Birth: November 30, 1982
Age: 36 years
Previously known as Andy Akinwolere, Odunayo Andrew Akinwolere is a Nigerian-born British television presenter. Ayo Akinwolere was born in 1982 in Western Nigeria. At the age of 8, his family took the decision to move to the UK and settled in Birmingham.
Akinwolere has four siblings – three brothers and one sister who live in the United States. His first language growing up was Yoruba, in addition to English; which he learned when the family moved to Birmingham.
While growing up in the UK, Ayo Akinwolere adopted the name ‘Andy’ and only changed it for his birth-name ‘Ayo’ in September of 2016.
He attended St. Thomas Aquinas Catholic School in Kings Norton District of Birmingham. Thereafter, he studied Media Studies at Sheffield Hallam University where he graduated in 2004.
Broadcasting Career of Ayo Akinwolere
Akinwolere was interested in Radio and Documentary-making but upon graduation; his first job came as a runner with the BBC. He later auditioned to present Blue Peter – a British children’s television magazine show. He got the job and started co-presenting the show on June 28th, 2006 and has co-hosted the show alongside Gethin Jones, Zoe Salmon, Helen Skelton, Joel Defries, Barney Harwood and Konnie Huq. Ayo holds the record of being the first black man to ever host the show.
As the lead presenter of the Show in 2008, Akinwolere hosted Queen Elizabeth II to celebrate 50 years of the show which was created in October of 1958. He eventually signed out of the show in April 2011 after about 5 years of actively co-hosting the popular children show.
Akinwolere has also been a guest presenter on CBBC’s Safari 8 and the established art show – SM:art. He has presented the BBC red button coverage of the London Mini-Marathon.
Sports Presentation and Documentary
As a broadcaster, Ayo Akinwolere has worked across various British television channels and radio stations; interviewing some of the world greatest sports people.
In 2012, he went to Jamaica to interview the world fastest man Usain Bolt, in a documentary for the BBC. The essence of the documentary was to understand through various theories, why Jamaica as a nation had dominated the world of sprinting for so long. He met Usain Bolt, his father Wellesley Bolt and his inspirational school teacher Lorna Thorpe.
Ayo Akinwolere has also written for publications such as The Daily Telegraph, Huffington Post and BBC Sport on Sport, his career and also male identity. He claimed to have travelled to over 118 different cities in the world through his career.
Since 2014, Akinwolere remains the presenter of the BBC’s current affairs programme Inside Out for which he has won the Best Factual Royal Television Society Award for his documentary on Extremism.
He also became a co-presenter on British Public Service Television – Channel 4’s coverage of the European Rugby Champions Cup in 2018.
In 2015, Ayo Akinwolere created ‘The Swim Challenge’, a project that seeks to prove that black people can also swim. Ayo is one of four black people with a swimming world record.
He took 15 non swimming adults of various ethnic backgrounds from across London and redesigned a swimming programme to teach them how to swim. In 10 weeks the participants went through a gruelling swimming programme helped by the Swim Dem Crew, to try and challenge their fears of the water and furthermore learn to swim.
All the participants learnt how to swim. And even more remarkable, eight participants from the group went on the swim in open water with Ayo in the Great Manchester Swim and Great London Swim. The project gained momentum in various publications and was sponsored by Speedo. Ayo was later commissioned by BBC Get Inspired to document the project.
He is also a recipient of several awards and international recognition especially in Sports, Swimming and Documentary. You can follow him on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. You can also reach out to him for any enquiry.
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