South Africa experienced its fair share of highs and lows during the 2016 Olympic games in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Some of its athletes added to the country’s medal count, while others disappointed.
South Africa’s Olympic delegation included 137 athletes competing in track and field, badminton, canoeing, cycling, diving, equestrian, soccer, golf, gymnastics, judo, rowing, rugby sevens, sailing, swimming, and triathlon.
South Africa’s athletes collected 10 medals at the Rio Olympics. Overall, SA has won 25 gold medals throughout Olympic history, and 86 total medals overall. Of the collection, 32 are silver and 29 are bronze.
Not all countries offer bonuses to athletes for bringing home gold medals, but of those that do, the amount varies greatly. For instance, Singapore offers a $757,000 gold medal bonus, Indonesia offers $385,000, and the U.K. offers none at all. Bonuses are doled out at the discretion of countries’ individual Olympic commissions, and individual sports commissions or sponsors may add additional bonuses.
While Rio is South Africa’s 19th overall Olympics, it is the seventh consecutive appearance since the end of apartheid. Banned by the international community during apartheid, the country did not participate in the summer games from 1964 to 1988.
To ensure the most competitive team possible, the South African Sports Confederation and Olympic Committee (SASCOC) declined all continental qualifiers, except in sports where continental qualification was the only available path.
The South African delegation donned green and gold tracksuits to the opening ceremonies in Rio, attracting derision from some viewers. Other athletes all wore either blazers or traditional clothing, but apparently the apparel was changed after the team was given shirts that were widely considered too ugly to wear.
Banyana Banyana disappointed fans after a 2-0 loss to China in their second group match. Prior to the games, the team played friendlies against some of the top teams, including the Netherlands, the U.S., and New Zealand. Coach Vera Pauw said, “We are still learning. We don’t have experience in our camp and it is because of the lack of a professional league in South Africa. The idea was not to win. We came here to learn.”
Source: City Press News
With a silver medal in the 100 meter butterfly – actually touched in a three-way tie with the U.S.’s Michael Phelps and Hungary’s Laszio Cseh – Chad le Clos collected his fourth Olympic medal, the most by any South African in history. Le Clos’ other medals came this year in the 200 meter freestyle (silver), and in London in 2012 in the 200 meter and 100 meter butterfly (gold and silver, respectively). With this fourth medal, le Clos pulled ahead of fellow South African swimmers Penny Heyns and Roland Schoeman, who both have three medals.
Though he didn’t progress to the final, Ryan Patterson made history as the first male South African gymnast to compete in the Olympic games since Jack Wells in 1956. With regard to the historic achievement, he said, “The pressure was more a motivation thing. I’m here to represent my country and it’s an honor, so channeling that into my routines is what I had to do.”
Van der Burgh took home a silver medal in the men’s 100 meter breaststroke, finishing after Britain’s Adam Peaty, who put on a legendary performance, smashing his own world record twice already. On his medal, van der Burgh said, “It’s an amazing feeling, I’m so super proud, you know. Add a silver to collection, gold, I can’t say I’m disappointed at all.”
Source: Times Live
The Blitzboks were considered one of the favorites for the Olympic Rugby Sevens, but were a bit disappointed in their performance, coming home with the bronze medal. Meanwhile, Fiji came in first, winning their country’s first ever-Olympic medal and sending fans into a frenzy.
For the second time in a week, but only the second time in Olympic history, a golfer pulled off an ace. South Africa’s Jaco Van Zyl scored a hole-in-one on the 173-yard par-3 eighth in the third round. He remains 12 behind the leader, but the glory of his shot will always remain.
Caster Semenya, 25, won Olympic gold in the 800 meter. Semenya set a national record to win in one minute 55.28 seconds and finish well ahead of silver medallist Francine Niyonsaba of Burundi. Kenya’s Margaret Nyairera Wambui won the bronze medal. Semenya has been subject to gender testing, spending 11 months on the sidelines. She was eventually cleared to compete in 2010. She has been diagnosed with hyperandrogenism, which means her testosterone levels exceed the vast majority of women. New regulations were introduced in 2011 requiring female athletes to take testosterone-lowering medication if their natural levels are above a certain point. The rules were suspended in July 2015 for two years.