South Africa has assembled a team of 137 athletes who will fly the nation’s flag at the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, from 5 to 21 August 2016.
South Africa has a proud history at the games, and having first participated in 1904, it sent athletes to compete in every Summer Olympic Games until 1960.
After the passage of United Nations General Assembly Resolution 1761 in 1962 in response to South Africa’s policy of apartheid, the nation was barred from the Games.
When negotiations to end apartheid in South Africa commenced in 1990, it re-joined the Olympic movement, and returned to the Games at the 1992 Summer Olympics.
South African athletes have won a total of 76 medals, including 23 golds, with athletics, boxing, and swimming as the top medal-producing sports.
BusinessTech looks at 5 moments post isolation that has had every South African screaming at the television, and feeling an overwhelming sense of pride.
Josiah Thugwane – Atlanta 1996
Josia Thugwane won gold in the marathon race at the 1996 Summer Olympics. He was the first black athlete to earn an Olympic gold for South Africa, which was the third of the games for Team SA after swimming sensation, Penny Heyns, had picked up gold in the women’s 100 and 200 metres Breaststroke events.
What makes Thugwane’s achievement even more incredible, is that just five months before his race, he was carjacked and shot.
Thugwane finished 3 seconds ahead of the silver medal athlete for the closest Olympic marathon finish ever.
Men’s 4x100m Freestyle Relay – Athens 2004
Who can forget the adrenaline fueled muscle flexing celebrations from the South African
The South African squad of Roland Schoeman, Lyndon Ferns, Darian Townsend and Ryk Neethling clocked 3 minutes and 13.17 seconds to triumph over the Netherlands (2nd) and the US team (3rd).
Team SA set a new world record in defeating some massive names in the sports history including Pieter van den Hoogenband, Ian Crocker, Michael Phelps, and Jason Lezak.
Schoeman and Neethling in particular would go on to have illustrious swimming careers, with Schoeman narrowly missing out on Rio, at the age of 35.
Chad Le Clos – London 2012
Chad le Clos announced himself to the world with a shock victory over US swimming legend Michael Phelps, in the final of the 200 meters butterfly event.
Phelps was bidding to became the first male swimmer to win the same individual event at three Olympics, led all the way but misjudged his final stroke, allowing le Clos to get his hands on the wall first in a time of one minute, 52.96 seconds.
Le Clos is a favourite for a medal in Rio.
Lightweight Coxless Four- London 2012
Sizwe Ndlovu, John Smith, Matthew Brittain and James Thompson won South Africa’s first ever rowing gold at the 2012 Olympic Rowing Regatta.
South Africa, coming from almost a boat length down, executed a perfectly devastating sprint to pip Great Britain and Denmark at the line for the Olympic gold medal by 0.25s.
Cameron Van Der Burgh – London 2012
Cameron van der Burgh was all power as he not only won the 100m Breaststroke in London, but smashed a new world record.
He blasted out to a 27.07 split on the first length, and pulled strongly ahead of the field to touch the wall first in 58.46, slashing 0.12 seconds off the record.
Unlike so many other swimmers before him, the boy from Pretoria had trained in South Africa before winning gold.