Home Facts 10 Facts: South Africa at the Olympic Games

10 Facts: South Africa at the Olympic Games


The 2012 London Olympics started officially on the 27th of July 2012. The games will end on the 12th of August. It’s the 30th that Olympic Games are held in history.

In case you did not know, 125 South African athletes are competing in the 2012 Olympic Games in 17 sports. SA is represented in archery, athletics, badminton, boxing, sprint canoeing, road cycling, track cycling, mountain biking, BMX cycling, equestrian eventing, field hockey, football, judo, rowing, sailing, shooting, swimming, the triathlon, beach volleyball and weightlifting.

South Africa actually has a rich history when it comes to the Olympic Games. Here are 10 facts about South Africa at the Olympic Games:

  • South Africa first appearance at the Olympic Games in 1904 in St. Louis in the United States.
  • In 1908 Reggie Walker won the gold in the 100m and Charles Hefferon claimed second place in the marathon in London. They were the first 2 South Africans to win medals at an Olympic Games.
  • Between 1904 and 1960 South Africa won 16 gold medals in total at the Olympic Games in London (1908), Stockholm (1912), Antwerp (1920), Paris (1924), Amsterdam (1928), Los Angeles (1932), London (1948) and Helsinki (1952).
  • In 1962 the UN passed General Assembly Resolution 1761 and South Africa was banned from participating in the Olympic games due to it’s Apartheid Policy.
  • Despite the fact that South Africa was banned from the Olympic Games, the country still participated in the Paralympic  Games until 1976.
  • South Africa has also participated in 6 Winter Olympics (in 1960, 1994, 1998, 2006 and 2010).
  • South Africa was allowed to compete in the Olympic Games again in 1992 in Barcelona.
  • To date South Africa has won 70 medals in total at the Olympics: 23 medals in Athletics, 19 medals in boxing, 12 medals in swimming, 6 medals in tennis, 8 medals in cycling, 1 medal in shooting and 1 medal in rowing.
  • South Africa has won 10 medals at a single Olympic games on two occasions: In 1920 in Antwerp and in1952 in Helsinki.
  • Roland Mark Schoeman has won 3 medals for swimming at the Olympics, the most by any South African. Penny Heyns won 2 medals at the 1996 Atlanta Olympics, the second most by any South African at a games.

There you have it, 10 Facts about South Africa at the Olympic Games. Please note that this medal total includes the Gold Medal that Cameron van der Burgh won on Sunday night in 100m breaststroke at the London Olympics. If you have a random fact to add, please feel free to comment on this post and let the readers of Running Wolf’s Rant know.

If you’ve enjoyed reading this post, feel free to check out the other posts in the Facts category on this blog. Feel free to share anything that you find interesting here. Remember: Sharing is Caring.


  1. Looking for the names of all south Africans that has won gold medals in the summer Olympics since 1904 and in what dissipline


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