Where did the baby name Nasiya come from in 1984?

Nasiya Jobe on the cover of Jet magazine (June, 1984).
Nasiya Jobe on the cover of “Jet

In 1984, both Nasiya and Laken debuted in the U.S. baby name data with 19 baby girls.

Laken, inspired by Santa Barbara, went on to reach the top 1,000 for a 6-year stretch in the 1990s.

Nasiya, on the other hand, never really gained traction.

  • 1987: unlisted
  • 1986: 5 baby girls named Nasiya
  • 1985: 5 baby girls named Nasiya
  • 1984: 19 baby girls named Nasiya [debut]
  • 1983: unlisted
  • 1982: unlisted

This may have been because it was inspired not by a popular soap opera, but by a little girl who was only in the news for a matter of months before slipping into obscurity again.

Nasiya Jobe, a 5-year-old long distance runner from Richmond, California, started making headlines in 1984.

She was on the cover of Jet in June. At that time, she held eight national records for her age group.

In mid-July, various U.S. newspapers ran a photo of Nasiya being passed the Olympic Torch at the start of her 1-kilometer leg of the relay between San Francisco and Los Angeles.

She appeared once more in Jet, twice in Ebony Jr!, and also in other publications. She even appeared on several TV programs, including Good Morning, America.

In a lengthy Sports Illustrated article that September, Nasiya’s father Darrell explained that her name was pronounced NAS-ee-yuh and meant “child of God” in Hebrew. (I can’t find any proof of this.)

SI also mentioned that “[s]he currently holds nine national age-group records and has two more pending for distances ranging from 400 (1:50.5) to 15,000 meters (1:17:56).”

Nasiya turned 6 that November.

The following year, she was profiled by People Magazine in January and Weekly World News in April. WWN mentioned that she was up to 11 national records at that point.

And then…nothing. She seems to disappear. Did she stop doing media appearances/interviews? Did she stop running altogether? I don’t know.

But at least one of her records still stands: her half-marathon time of 1:51:31, which she set at the age of 5 years and 328 days, remains a World Single-Age Record for women according to the Association of Road Racing Statisticians.


Image: © 1984 Jet

6 thoughts on “Where did the baby name Nasiya come from in 1984?

  1. Re: “child of God” meaning, a lot of baby name sites/books give the mean of Nasia as “miracle of God,” apparently deriving that meaning from Nesia/Nessa, which actually does mean miracle in Hebrew. So maybe dad was just mis-remembering the meaning.

  2. Maybe Nasiya will tell her story of what happened to her. I am her sister and will post this on her facebook message page and see if you she responds to you.

  3. Her name does mean miracle of God, derived from the name Nacia, I just decided to spell it Nasiya when she was born.

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