South Africa's proudest Olympic moments

South Africa has a rich history when it comes to the Olympic Games having taken part in 19 competitions.
The country's athletes have won a total of 86 medals, with athletics, boxing and swimming as the top medal-producing sports.
We take a look at the Southern African giants' proudest Olympic moments.

Penny Heyns breaks records in Atlanta

The legendary swimmer stunned the world at the 1996 Olympic Games in Atlanta, USA when she broke two records.
Heyns won the gold medal for the 100m breaststroke (breaking the world record) and another gold medal for the 200m breaststroke (breaking the Olympic Games records).
This made her South Africa's first post-apartheid Olympic gold medallist following the country's re-admission to the Games in 1992.

SA crack gold medals in Australia 2004

South Africa caused an upset when they beat swimming heavyweights USA and Australia at the 2004 Olympic Games in Athens, Greece.
A team made up of Lyndon Ferns, Ryk Neethling, Roland Schoeman and Dorian Townsend won the 4 x 100-meter freestyle race.
They were the only South African athletes to win gold medals at the 2004 Olympic Games.
“We trained together and saw each other grow and to stand on the podium with three brothers," Schoeman said on Royal Gazette.
"Hearing the national anthem — the first time a South African relay team has ever done that — was pretty special. It was, without a doubt, the highlight for me.”


Natalie du Doit defies all physical obstacles in 2008

The accomplished swimmer defied all physical obstacles at the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing with her leg having been amputated after a car accident in 2001.
Du Duit became the first female amputee in an able-bodied Olympics event, but this did not stop her from competing in the global competition.
She courageously finished in 16th place, in a time of 1.22.2 minutes behind the winner in the women's 10 km race. 

Chad Le Clos stuns swimming icon Phelps in 2012

The accomplished swimmer stunned the most decorated olympian of all-time Michael Phelps at the 2012 Olympic Games in London, Egland.
Le Clos won the gold medal in the 200m butterfly in 1min 52.96 sec, edging out the two-time defending Olympic champion and world record holder, Michael Phelps, by 0.05 seconds.
He then won the silver medal in the 100m butterfly, tied with Yevgeny Korotyshkin in a time of 51.44 sec, at 0.23 sec behind Phelps.

Wayde Van Niekerk smashes record in 2016

The South African sprinter surprised the whole world when he broke a 17-year old 400 meters record at the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro.
Van Niekerk won the gold medal with a world record time of 43.03 seconds, breaking American athletics legend Michael Johnson's record time from 1999.
Van Niekerk became the only man to have won the Olympic or world 400m from lane eight: usually, runners in this lane are at a disadvantage due to the staggered start.
“I believed I could get the world record. I’ve dreamed of this medal forever. I am blessed," said Van Niekerk on The Guardian. 
“You can’t be anyone’s favourite. What I can do is control the controllables, and stay as disciplined as I can be, and focused on goals and life.
"The beginning of the year I had the opportunity to break the sub-10, as I believe the talent God has blessed me.”

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Published: 04/15/2020