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South African gold medallists at the Olympic Games: Tatjana Schoenmaker joins Mzansi’s elite

Tatjana Schoenmaker celebrates with her gold medal. Photo: Stefan Wermuth/Reuters

Tatjana Schoenmaker celebrates with her gold medal. Photo: Stefan Wermuth/Reuters

Published Jul 30, 2021


CAPE TOWN - TATJANA Schoenmaker won South Africa’s 11th gold medal at the Olympic Games since readmission in 1992 with a world-record performance in the women’s 200 metres breaststroke on Friday.

The 24-year-old from Pretoria was second behind American Lilly King for the first 100 metres, but remained patient to storm to victory in the last 50m in a new world record of two minutes 18.95 seconds (2:18.95).

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That beat the previous mark of 2:19.11, set by Rikke Moller Pedersen in 2013.

Schoenmaker follows in the footsteps of another South African breaststroke legend, Penny Heyns, who took top spot in the 200m at the 1996 Atlanta Olympics – where the latter also won gold in the 100m.

ALSO READ: It still hasn’t sunk in, says Tatjana Schoenmaker after winning Olympic gold in record time

Friday’s triumph is in addition to Schoenmaker’s silver medal in the 100m breaststroke earlier in the week.

Marathon star Josia Thugwane was the first South African gold medal in the post-apartheid era at the 1996 Atlanta Olympics, and he was backed up by Heyns’ double gold in the breaststroke.

South Africa’s next gold medal came at the 2004 Athens Olympics, where the 4x100m freestyle relay quartet of Lyndon Ferns, Ryk Neethling, Roland Schoeman and Darian Townsend raised the flag.

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ALSO READ: Double medal hope for Team SA in 200m breaststroke as Tatjana Schoenmaker, Kaylene Corbett victorious in semi-finals

Mzansi had to wait until the 2012 London Games to hear Nkosi Sikelel’ iAfrika at the Olympics again, with rowing squad Sizwe Ndlovu, Matthew Brittain, John Smith and James Thompson took the honours in the men’s lightweight four competition.

There were three more golds in the British capital – swimmers Cameron van der Burgh (100m breaststroke) and Chad le Clos (200m butterfly), and Caster Semenya in the 800m on the athletics track.

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Semenya secured her second 800m gold at Rio 2016, where athletics contributed gold in the shape of Wayde van Niekerk, who set that incredible world record of 43.03 seconds from lane eight in the 400m.

South African Olympic Gold Medal Winners

1908 London

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Reggie Walker (athletics, men’s 100m)

1912 Stockholm

Ken McArthur (athletics, men’s marathon)

Rudolph Lewis (cycling, men’s individual time trial)

Harold Kitston and Charles Winslow (tennis, men’s doubles)

Charles Winslow (tennis, men’s singles)

1920 Antwerp

Bevil Rudd (athletics, men’s 400m)

Clarence Walker (boxing, men’s bantamweight)

Louis Raymond (tennis, men’s singles)

1924 Paris

William Smith (boxing, men’s bantamweight)

1928 Amsterdam

Sydney Atkinson (athletics, men’s 110m hurdles)

1932 Los Angeles

Lawrence Stevens (boxing, men’s lightweight)

David Carstens (boxing, men’s light heavyweight)

1948 London

Gerald Dreyer (boxing, men’s lightweight)

George Hunter (boxing, men’s light heavyweight)

1952 Helsinki

Esther Brand (athletics, women’s high jump)

Joan Harrison (swimming, women’s 100m backstroke)

1996 Atlanta

Josia Thugwane (athletics, men’s marathon)

Penny Heyns (swimming, women’s 100m breaststroke)

Penny Heyns (swimming, women’s 200m breaststroke)

2004 Athens

Lyndon Ferns, Ryk Neethling, Roland Schoeman, Darian Townsend (swimming, men’s 4x100m freestyle relay)

London 2012

Sizwe Ndlovu, Matthew Brittain, John Smith, James Thompson (rowing, men’s lightweight four)

Cameron van der Burgh (swimming, men’s 100m breaststroke)

Chad le Clos (swimming, men’s 200m butterfly)

Caster Semenya (athletics, women’s 800m)

Rio 2016

Wayde van Niekerk (athletics, men’s 400m)

Caster Semenya (athletics, women’s 800m)

Tokyo 2020

Tatjana Schoenmaker (swimming, women’s 200m breaststroke)

* Click here for the latest Olympics news, schedules, results and medal rankings.


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