7 SA Olympic triumphs that make us super proud


Cape Town - South Africans are currently walking on clouds after Olympian Wayde van Niekerk won the first gold medal for the country for the 2016 Summer Olympics. 

On top of that, Wayde also smashed the 400m world record with a 43.03 run, breaking American legend Michael Johnson's world record that had stood since 1999.

As Sport24 put it, this will surely be one of the biggest performances of this year's Olympics by any athlete from any country. 

Follow Sport24's Olympic coverage here

Our hearts are bursting with pride for Wayde and all the South African Olympians representing in Rio. So, to match our seven Olympic medals in the current Summer Games, here are seven SA Olympic triumphs of all time that have made us super proud - 

In 1952, when SA's Olympians brought home the most medals to date

South Africa made their presence in world rankings known in 1952, when we ranked in the 12th overall position on the Olympic chart, globally.  

The Union of South Africa, as it was then called, competed at the Summer Olympics in Helsinki, Finland. We had only 64 competitors, 60 men and 4 women, taking part in 59 events in 13 sports. 

This year, SA has 137 competitors in 16 sports - and so far, we have seven medals! 

A photo posted by Suvi Jalli (@suvitj) on


When Zola Budd set the Women's 5 000 metres world record - with bare feet

Budd, at the tender age of 17, broke the women's 5 000m world record in 1984. But the run took place in SA at a time when the country was excluded from international athletics competition because of its apartheid policy. Hence, the International Amateur Athletics Federation (IAAF) refused to ratify Budd's time as an official world record.

One year on, in 1985, she claimed the world record officially.

Although she was representing Great Britain - a conscious circumvention of the SA Apartheid ban of the time - South Africans were still super proud of their barefoot record-breaker. 


Penny Heyns' double-barreled breaststroke win 

Penny made our hearts burst with pride when she became the only woman in the history of the Olympic Games to have won both the 100 m and 200 m breaststroke events at the 1996 Atlanta Olympic Games. 

We love her more because she was South Africa's first post-apartheid Olympic gold medallist following South Africa's re-admission to the Games in 1992. 

Today still, she is considered one of the greatest breaststroke swimmers of all time. 

A photo posted by SABC Sport (@sabcsport) on


That epic 2004 Freestyle relay 

We  just can't forget that epic moment in 2004 when SA's Lyndon Ferns, Ryk Neethling, Roland Schoeman and Dorian Townsend won the 4 x 100-meter freestyle relay in Greece. 


When Natalie du Doit defied all physical obstacles in 2008 

Golden girl Natalie Du Toit made us proud when she became the first female amputee in an able-bodied Olympics in 2008, when she swam in the women’s 10km marathon race. 

Her leg amputation came after a car accident in 2001. Since then, she has been a prosperous Paralympian who participates without the assistance of a prosthetic limb. 

Read more about the most inspirational female Olympians of all time here: Nazi death camps, polio and amputation: 10 amazing female Olympians who fought against the odds




The unbelievable Team Le Clos 

He wasn't technically an Olympian, but Bert le Clos crept into our hearts just as much as his son Chad at the 2012 London Olympics. 

With his 'unbelievable' appreciation for the games and the sport, Bert is right up there in the ranks with the world's most supportive Olympian dads. 

This year, Bert has been the epitome of a supportive dad again, expressing his delight after his son won a silver medal in the 200m freestyle at the Rio Olympics.

This while him and his wife Geraldine are currently battling cancer. 

A photo posted by @robwestpix on


Wayde van Niekerk's incredible World Record smash 

The world's trending topic at the moment - our very own Wayde van Niekerk's 400m world record showstopper.  

If you weren't convinced that's it's worth it to get up to at 03:00 in the morning, let this be your wake-up call! 

Hopefully, the entire SA will be glued to their tellies come 17 August, when Caster Semenya competes in the women's 800m. 





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