South Africa at the Olympic Games: 10 Facts You Might Not Know

Ever wondered about South Africa at the Olympic Games? Today we delve into this topic. In case you did not know, South Africa has competed 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 at the Summer Olympics.



You probably didn’t know this, but 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:

1. South Africa first appearance at the Olympic Games in 1904 in St. Louis in the United States.

2. 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.

3. 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).

4. 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.

5. Despite the fact that South Africa was banned from the Olympic Games, the country still participated in the Paralympic  Games until 1976.

South Africa at the Olympic Games

6. South Africa has also participated in 8 Winter Olympics (in 1960, 1994, 1998, 2006, 2010, 2014 and 2018).

7. South Africa was allowed to compete in the Olympic Games again in 1992 in Barcelona.

8. To date South Africa has won 86 medals in total at the Olympics: 29 medals for athletics, 19 medals for boxing, 18 medals for swimming, 6 medals for tennis, 8 medals for cycling, 3 medals for rowing, 1 medal for shooting, 1 medal for canoeing, 1 medal for rugby and 1 model for triathlon.

9. South Africa has won 10 medals at a single Olympic games on two occasions: In 1920 in Antwerp and in1952 in Helsinki.

10. 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.

Well, there you have it, 10 facts about South Africa at the Olympic Games. I trust that you find this information interesting and useful.

If you’ve enjoyed reading this post, feel free to check out the other posts in the Facts category on Running Wolf’s Rant.

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Henno Kruger

Blogger, Desktop Activist, Twitter / Facebook Addict, Music Festival Addict, Avid lover of South African music, Founder and owner of Running Wolf's Rant

This Post Has One Comment

  1. nico de beer

    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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