South Africa at the Olympics
South Africa first competed at the Olympic Games in 1904. They sent athletes to compete in every Summer Olympic Games 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.
Reggie Walker captured South Africa’s first ever gold medal when he finished first in the men’s 100m at the 1908 Summer Olympic Games, equaling the Olympic record. To date, Walker is still the youngest competitor (19 years, 128 days) to win the gold medal in the men's 100m event.
In 1952, Esther Brand became the first ever female South African to receive a gold medal when she won the women’s high jump event in athletics at the Helsinki Summer Olympic Games.
- In 2012, controversial South African Oscar Pistorius (aka the 'Blade Runner') became the first double amputee to take part in both the Olympics and Paralympics. He competed in the 400m and the 4 x 400m relay races at the Olympics.
- After some controversy about her gender, South African 800m runner Caster Semenya was cleared to compete in London 2012 where she finished second in the women’s 800 meters. She seemed to run a poor tactical race, and was accused by some of holding back so not to win and cause further controversy. Since then, the winner Mariya Savinova has been stripped of the gold medal for doping, giving Semenya the gold. In 2016 she repeated the win, being first past the post in the 800m again. Changes in the rules meant she was not able to compete in the same event for Tokyo 2020, and she failed in her attempts to qualify in the 200m and 5000m.
- South Africa at the Winter Olympics
- List of all countries that have participated at the Olympic Games.
- About Sport in South Africa