Tuks athletes aim to continue medal-winning streak at the Paris Olympic Games

Posted on May 17, 2024

Tuks athletes have been carrying the flag for South Africa since 2012 at the Olympic Games,
winning nine medals (4 gold, 4 silver and 1 bronze) out of 19.

Playing around with numbers equates to Tuks winning 47.36% of South Africa's Olympic medals
at the last three Olympic Games. This trend is set to continue at the end of July during the Paris.

Today, Sascoc named the first 39 athletes to be selected to compete in Paris. Tatjana Smith,
Kaylene Corbett, Erin Gallagher, Pieter Coetzé, Matt Sates (all swimmers), and Jovan van Vuuren
(long jumper) are the Tuks athletes who will compete at the Games.

Judging by their performances this year, Smith and Coetzé have a realistic chance of winning the
medal in Paris.

During the South African Championships in Gqeherba, Smith won the 200m-breaststroke in a
time of 2:19.01. It is currently the fastest in the world. In the 100m-breaststroke, she has the third
fastest time (1:05.41). She is the defending 200m-breaststroke Olympian champion. During the
2021 Tokyo Olympics, she also won silver in the 100m-breastroke.

Coetzé was the only South African swimmer to medal at the World Championships in Doha. He
won a bronze in the 200m-backstroke. His winning time (1:55.85) at the SA Champs in the same
event is one of the fastest seven in the world. He is the sixth fastest in the 100m backstroke
(52.89).

Van Vuuren qualified for the Olympic Games by jumping 8.30 metres during the Gauteng North
Championships. If he can repeat the performance in Paris, he will have a real chance to win a
medal.

In 2012 in London, Greg Rutherford (Britain) won gold with an 8.31 metre effort; 8.12 metres
was good enough for bronze. In 2016 in Rio, Jeff Henderson (USA) won, jumping 8.38 metres;
8.29 metres was the bronze medal distance. Miltiadis Tentoglou (Greece) won in 2021 in Tokyo,
jumping 8.41 metres. 8.21 metres was good enough for bronze.

Interestingly, since 1992, Caster Semenya has been the only South African athlete to win a gold
medal in the same event at two consecutive Olympic Games. She did so in 2012 in London and
2016 in Rio de Janeiro, winning the 800 metres.

Actually, Semenya officially finished second in 2012. Russia's Mariya Savinova won the 800
metres, but she was stripped of her Olympic title after it was established that she had used banned
substances.

So, the honour of claiming to be the first South African to win two consecutive Olympic titles is
there for the taking.

Smit is capable of achieving this unique feat. She has "BMT" (big match temperament). Or, to put it another way, when the going gets tough, Smith gets going. Her results are proof. Since 2018,
she has medalled at every major event she has competed in.

Her medal heroics include winning gold during the Tokyo Olympic Games, the 2022 World
Championships, the 2018 and 2022 Commonwealth Games and the 2019 World University
Games. She has also set a world record during the Tokyo Games. Last year, she became the first
South African female swimmer to win a world-long course swimming title.

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