Team South Africa shines at Olympics
It’s my first Olympics and I’m on the podium. I’m still a bit young, I know I’m growing. I know the main thing was to win a gold medal, but the most important thing was to finish on the podium. - Caster Semenya, Olympic silver medallist
Team South Africa has brought home 6 medals from the 2012 London Summer Olympics. The ‘golden moments’ will keep South Africans talking for many months to come.
Let's recap the major highlights...
Cameron van der Burgh claimed the gold medal in the 100 metre breaststroke - a move that set Team South Africa off on a winning streak. Then the young Chad le Clos surprised even himself when he beat the legendary Michael Phelps in the 200 metre butterfly event. He went on to claim the silver medal in the 100 metre final as well.
South Africa’s rowing team – Sizwe Ndlovu, John Smith, Matthew Brittain and James Thompson - pushed the limits at Eton Downey, claiming gold in the lightweight rowing event. Bridgette Hartley certainly did her bit for the sport of canoeing by claiming the bronze in the women’s K1 500 metre final.
Athlete Caster Semenya was a firm favourite back home and, after a sluggish start, she won the silver medal in the women’s 800 metre final. Many said she could have won the gold, but Semenya seemed pleased with her achievement. 'I’m satisfied with silver. The plan was to win the gold, but I didn’t,’ Semenya told the international media. ‘It’s my first Olympics and I’m on the podium. I’m still a bit young, I know I’m growing. I know the main thing was to win a gold medal, but the most important thing was to finish on the podium.’
No doubt there are great things in the future for this 21-year-old athlete from Limpopo. With the Rio Olympics taking place in 2016, she has the time to develop in maturity and confidence; the talent she certainly has in abundance.
The closing ceremony for the 2012 London Olympics took place on Sunday evening (12 August) with some of Britain’s biggest superstars taking to the stage. Team South Africa was led by Oscar Pistorius. Although he didn’t win his 400 metre race, he certainly had the international media talking. Our very own 'Blade Runner' is the world's first double amputee to have taken part in the Olympics.
Just a few hours later Pistorius was on a plane back to South Africa, sharing his incredible journey on Twitter. He wrote: ’04:55 and heading out to the airport… Feels surreal that the @London2012@Olympics has come to an end. Was absolutely life-changing.'