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South Africa at the Olympics

Although a united South Africa was not formed until 1910, athletes representing South Africa competed in 1904, and four years later a combined South Africa team was sent to the 1908 Summer Olympics in London. South Africa sent athletes to compete in every Summer Olympic Games following until 1960. In 1962, in response to South Africa's policy of apartheid, the nation was barred from the Olympic Games.

Shortly after apartheid in South Africa was eliminated the county made its return into the Olympic organization. The South African Sports Confederation and Olympic Committee was established in 1991, and rejoined the Olympics at the 1992 Barcelona Summer Olympics.

Most of the nation’s medals have been won in track and field, boxing, swimming and tennis.

First Appearance in 1904

Although the country of South Africa had not yet been formed, representatives were at the third Olympiad in 1904. The participating athletes included the first black Africans to compete in the Olympics, Tswana tribesmen Len Taunyane and Jan Mashiani, who were in St. Louis as part of the South African exhibit at the 1904 World's Fair. They competed in the marathon event, as did another South African Bertie Harris, though he did not finish the event.

There was also a team from South Africa in the tug-of-war competition, representing Boers. The team lost their only match against the Milwaukee Athletic Club (USA). The SA team comprised Pieter Hillense, Pieter Lombard, Johannes Schutte, Paulus Visser, and Christopher Walker.

Notable Performances


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