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Olympic update and a mea culpa

We pride ourselves on carefully checking everything that appears in our Weekly Wrap – but last week we made two mistakes. First, we misspelt our gold medal hero Tatjana Schoenmaker’s surname, and then we said her silver medal win earlier in the week was for a 50m event. It wasn’t: she scooped silver in the 100m breaststroke. We’re really sorry, Tatjana, and sorry to you, our readers, for the errors. We’ll make sure we pick up our game and go for gold with every fact in future!

On that note, Schoenmaker’s gold – made even shinier because she smashed the 200m breaststroke world record to win it – had us hitting the ceiling with delight. Her achievement was hailed by the first (and last, until now) SA woman swimmer to score gold at the games, Penny Heyns. Heyns scooped two golds at the 1996 Atlanta Games in the 100m and 200m breaststroke. Sadly it’s been otherwise quiet on the medal front; by Thursday afternoon, SA had three medals (Schoenmaker’s two and the silver that Bianca Buitendag earned in the women’s shortboard surfing contest). Our heavily favoured track and field athletes worked hard but nobody placed among the medals. 

Good thing that Olympians from several other countries on the continent gave us plenty of pan-African pride: we’re particularly thrilled for 18-year-old Namibian Christine Mboma, who picked up silver in the 200m sprint. Mboma and her teammate Beatrice Masilingi were declared ineligible for the 400m race because of what the New York Times describes as a “genetic condition that raises their testosterone levels”. The silver, then, may be a little bittersweet – imagine having to outpace not just other athletes, but controversial rules that many see as another way to police women’s bodies. A reminder that such rules are the reason our beloved Caster Semenya isn’t at the Olympics this year. She may be missing out on the track action, but Semenya’s personal life is extremely happy; she and her wife Violet Raseboya announced in late July that they’re expecting a second child together. 🙌

This article appeared as part of The Wrap, 05 August 2021. Sign up to receive our weekly updates.