25 March 2020, by: Carl Lewis

GOLD!!! South Africa at the Olympics

It’s official, Covid-19 has forced the Olympic Games 2020 in Tokyo to be postponed for a year. It was certainly the right decision but if you need reminding about how special the Olympics can be… we’ve created the perfect list for you as we look at South Africa’s 10 Gold medals since becoming a republic in the 1990’s.

You are genuinley going to enjoy this.

Josia Thugwane - Marathon - Atlanta 1996

At Atlanta, in the 1996 Olympic marathon, Josia Thugwane wrote himself into folklore when he won gold finishing three seconds ahead of second place, which was the closest Olympic marathon finish ever.

Bear in mind the gold came two years after the first elections in the democratic South Africa – it was a significant moment for a country in need of hope.

Penny Heyns - 200m Breaststroke - Atlanta 1996

Heyns won the gold medal for the 100 m breaststroke (world record) as well as the gold medal for the 200 m breaststroke  Olympic record). This made her the only woman in the history of the Games to have won both the 100 m and 200 m breaststroke events while also becoming a darling of the South African public.

South Africa Men's Relay - 4x100m Freestyle - Athens 2004

The South African team (Roland Mark Schoeman, Lyndon Ferns, Darian Townsend, and Ryk Neethling) set a new world record of 3:13.17 on their way to South Africa’s only gold of the games. A very celebrated victory during that period.

South Africa Rowing - Lightweight Coxless Four - London 2012

The lightweight fours rowing crew of Matthew Brittain, Lawrence Sizwe Ndlovu, John Smith and James Thompson powered back from a seemingly impossible position to grab the nations third gold medal in London. Team manager Roger Barrow had built a great rowing culture and was deserved of the win, the rowing team claimed more medals four years later.

Cameron Van Der Burgh - 100m Breaststroke - London 2012

South Africa’s Cameron Van Der Burgh set a new world record of 58.46 as he won the gold medal in the men’s 100m breaststroke. Interestingly Van Der Burgh was home trained at the time.

Chad Le Clos - 200m Butterfly - London 2012

Chad Le Clos shocked the world when he beat the heavily favoured Michael Phelps in the Men’s 200m Butterfly Final to claim gold. Le Clos admitted that his sporting hero was Michael Phelps said that beating his hero was totally unexpected. A truly unlikely gold at the time.

Caster Semenya - 800m Final - London 2012

Russian Mariya Savinova-Farnosova “won the gold medal” but was later given a four-year doping ban by the court of arbitration for sport and was stripped of her medal. This meant Caster Semenya, who finished second, rightfully claimed gold albeit in 2017.

Caster Semenya - 800m Final - Rio 2016

At the time, she was the London 2012 silver medallist but Semenya confirmed her status as the worlds best in the women’s 800m final in Rio 2016.

Wayde van Niekerk - 400m - Rio 2016

van Niekerk smashed the longstanding 400m world record held by the iconic Michael Johnson in Rio in a time of 43.03 seconds. He also became the first athlete to win gold from lane 8. This achievement immediately made him a global icon.

Leave a Reply