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Wings on his heels

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Clem Sunter

I got up this morning, switched the TV on and watched one of the best things I have seen in my life: Wayde Van Niekerk winning the 400 metres at the Rio Olympics. On the outside lane, he led from start to finish. As they came around the final bend, the commentator just had time to say he may be beginning to tire when Wayde kicked into overdrive for the last few seconds. Not only did he win by a convincing margin, he also beat Michael Johnson’s world record that everybody thought was unreachable for the time being.

Wow! What a race and what a legend a person can become in a split second.  In a sense the commentator subsequently apologised by saying: “He had wings on his heels.”  He also said it was probably the event of the entire games. It is just so nice that all this drama was about a South African and not an American, Australian or any other nationality. For once it was us that felt the glory second-hand – especially when Usain Bolt went up the stands to give him a hug and congratulate him after winning the 100 metres himself.

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