Congratulations to Team SA – the athletes, coaches and administrators – for a fantastic Olympic performance! With a final tally of six medals, this made London Olympics 2012 the most successful Olympics South Africa has enjoyed since its re-admission to international sport 20 years ago, in Barcelona back in 1992.

Amongst the medals and the memories, these are the moments we’ll never forget:

MOST INSPIRING

This has to go to SA’s legendary double-amputee athlete Oscar Pistorius when he qualified for the Men’s 400-metre semi-final!


After losing out in the semi-final, Oscar took to his Twitter page and said:

“As so many of you supported me over the weekend, I’d like to wish you a blessed, productive and all round successful week! I woke up this morning overwhelmed by the 1000s of messages of well wishes. Thank you for making this one of the greatest moments of my life!”

(Remember to watch out for Oscar in the Paralympic Games.)

Oscar Pistorius at the Olympics
LONDON, ENGLAND. 2012 OLYMPIC GAMES. 5 August 2012. Athletics. Oscar Pistorius starts in the 400m semi finals. Picture by WESSEL OOSTHUIZEN / SA SPORTS PICTURE AGENCY

MOST PUZZLING

Caster Semenya left it just a little late before powering her way down the final straight in front of a packed Olympic stadium to clock a season’s best time of 1 min 57.23sec behind Russia’s Mariya Savinova (1:56.19). But Silver for Semenya still felt great; and after all the controversy and media scrutiny she’s been under – she deserves a huge congratulations!

Caster Semenya
LONDON, ENGLAND. 27 July 2012. Opening Ceremony of the London 2012 Olympic Games in the Olympic Stadium. SA flag bearer Caster Semenya. Picture by WESSEL OOSTHUIZEN / SA SPORTS PICTURE AGENCY

MOST DRAMATIC

Chad Le Clos won the 200-metre butterfly in an amazing 1min 52.96sec, beating his idol and American Olympic legend Michael Phelps into second spot in a nail-biting race to the wall. A few days later Le Clos took silver in the 100-m butterfly final when he was narrowly edged out by Phelps.

Chad Le Clos
LONDON, ENGLAND. 31 July 2012. Olympic Games, swimming. South Africa’s Chad le Clos winning the gold medal for the 200m breaststroke. Picture by WESSEL OOSTHUIZEN / SA SPORTS PICTURE AGENCY

MOST SUPPORTIVE

Princess Charlene of Monaco, a former Olympic swimmer, played host to the South African swim team by inviting them to train in Monaco in the lead-up to the Olympics. The South African princess was also poolside during the Olympics to cheer on (and congratulate) her former countrymen.

Princess Charlene Supported South African Swimmers all the way
Princess Charlene Supported South African Swimmers all the way. Source: Prince’s Palace of Monaco

MOST CREATIVE

If there was a medal for most creative posters, we reckon these two should win:

Chad le Clos
Source: Facebook
Bringing gold medals home to South Africa
Source: Facebook

MOST PUBLICALLY PROUD PARENT

We’re sure most of the SA athletes had proud family and friends watching and supporting them, but top prize must go to Chad’s dad Bert for his heartfelt and humourous public display of loving pride for his son – “the most beautiful boy” – during an interview with the BBC, just seconds after Chad had beaten Michael Phelps in the men’s 200m butterfly final. You can watch the start of the interview here:

httpvh://www.youtube.com/watch?v=L1tduGQPJJw

Watch the full BBC interview here.

MEDAL WINNERS

Chad Le Clos – 1 Gold and 1 Silver
Men’s 200-metre butterfly (Gold)
Men’s 100-metre butterfly (Silver)

Cameron van der  Burgh – Gold
Men’s 100-metre breastroke (Swimming)

Cameron van der Burgh & Ryk Neethling
LONDON, ENGLAND. 30 July 2012. Olympic swGames swimming breaststroke champion Cameron van der Burgh at at press conference at the Sascoc Media Centre at the Copthorne Hotel in Kensington. Atens gold medallist, Ryk Neethling, was in attendance. Picture by WESSEL OOSTHUIZEN / SA SPORTS PICTURE AGENCY

James Thompson, Matthew Brittain, John Smith and Lawrence Ndlovu – Gold
Men’s Lighweight Four (Rowing)

S.A. Mens Lightweight Fours Rowing Final - Eton Dorney
South Africa’s team of Matthew Brittain, Sizwe Ndlovu, John Smith and James Thompson win the gold medal in the mens lightweight fours final held at Eton Dorney in London, England on the 2nd August 2012 ©Barry Aldworth/BackpagePix

Caster Semenya – Silver
Women’s 800-metre (Athletics)

Bridgitte Hartley – Bronze
Women’s K1 Canoe Sprint

TEAM MEMBERS

And here’s a list of all those athletes who participated and helped make this such a memorable and successful year for Team SA:

Aquatics

Jean Basson, Charl Crous, Heerden Herman, Chad le Clos, Gideon Louw, Kathryn Meaklim, Graeme Moore, Karin Prinsloo, Sebastien Rousseau, Riaan Schoeman, Roland Schoeman, Leith Shankland, Darian Townsend, Wendy Trott, Suzaan van Biljon, Cameron van der Burgh

Archery

Karen Hultzer

Athletics

Marathon (men): Lusapho April, Stephen Mokoka, Coolboy Ngamole

Marathon (women): Rene Kalmer, Tanith Maxwell, Irvette van Blerk.

Track and field: Cornel Fredericks, Caster Semenya, Louis Jacobus van Zyl, Sunette Viljoen & Oscar Pistorius

50km race walk: Marc Mundell

Badminton

Michelle Edwards, Dorian James, Annari Viljoen, Willem Viljoen

Boxing

Siphiwe Lusizi, Ayabonga Sonjica

(Siphiwe Lusizi became the first South African boxer to win a fight at the Olympics in 12 years when he beat unheralded Ahmed Ahmed of Iraq 17-13 in London on the first Sunday night.)

Canoeing

Bridgitte Hartley, Tiffany Kruger

Cycling

Road: Darryl Impey, Robyn de Groot, Ashleigh Moolman, Joanna van de Winkel. Mountain bike: Phillip Buys, Candice Neethling, Burry Stander

BMX: Sifiso Nhlapo

Track: Bernard Esterhuizen

Equestrian

Paul Hart

Football (women)

Roxanne Barker, Zamandosi Cele, Amanda Dlamini, Judith Hlumbane, Refiloe Jane, Kylie-Ann Louw, Noko Matlou, Andisiwe Mgcoyi, Philadelphia Mndaweni, Portia Modise, Sanah Mollo, Robyn Moodaly, Marry Ntsweng, Nompumelelo Nyandeni, Amanda Sister, Leandra Smeda, Janine van Wyk, Nothando Vilakazi

Hockey (women)

Tarryn Bright, Dirkie Chamberlain, Pietie Coetzee, Bernadette Coston, Sulette Damons, Illse Davids, Lisa-Marie Deetlefs, Lesle-Ann George, Lenise Marais, Marsha Marescia, Mariette Rix, Shelley Russell, Kathleen Taylor, Nicolene Terblanche, Jennifer Wilson, Kate Woods

Hockey (men)

Andrew Cronje, Timothy Drummond, Ian Haley, Rhett Halkett, Marvin Harper, Julian Hykes, Lance Louw, Lloyd Madsen, Thornton McDade, Lloyd Norris-Jones, Taine Paton, Wade Paton, Erasmus Pieterse, Justin Reid-Ross, Jonathan Robinson, Austin Smith

Judo

Gideon van Zyl

Rowing

Men’s lightweight cox less four: Matthew Brittain, Lawrence Ndlovu, John Smith, James Thompson

Women’s Pair: Lee-Ann Persse, Naydene Smith

Sailing

Asenathi Jim, Roger Hudson

Shooting

Alistair Davis

Triathlon

Richard Murray, Kate Roberts, Gillian Sanders

Volleyball (beach)

Freedom Chiya, Grant Goldschmidt

Weightlifting

Jean Greeff

CONGRATULATIONS TO ALL. You made South Africans around the world proud to be South African.