Watch: SA’s Caitlin Rooskrantz

Photo: Sanlam/YouTube

Watch: SA’s Caitlin Rooskrantz performs her Olympic routine [video]

SA gymnast, Caitlin Rooskrantz recently performed her Olympic routine on the same day she would have performed in Tokyo.

Watch: SA’s Caitlin Rooskrantz

Photo: Sanlam/YouTube

On 2 August 2020, 18-year-old Caitlin Rooskrantz should have been making history as SA’s first female artistic gymnast in 15 years to compete in the Olympic Games. Yet, due to the pandemic, all plans were interrupted. So on the same day she would have been competing in Tokyo, Sanlam gave Caitlin the chance to make some new plans: by live-streaming her medal-worthy routine

An ‘extraordinary athlete’

“Caitlin is an extraordinary athlete and an inspiring example for us all,” said Sanlam’s Head of Brand, Mariska Oosthuizen. “Her unwavering commitment and positive attitude are infectious and so beautifully reflects our ethos at Sanlam of building resilience and staying the course, even when faced with setbacks and unforeseen disruptions.”

Live-streamed at 10:00, thousands of South Africans from all walks of life and every corner of the nation cheered Caitlin on from the other side of their screens as she performed her Olympic routine.  

“Slowly approaching the bars, softly whispering under her breath as she walked, the backdrop felt as unfamiliar and surreal as the circumstances we all now find ourselves in,” reads a press release. “As she took one final deep breath and bravely stepped up to the mat, one could cut the tension with a knife. Then flinging from one bar to the next in a near-perfect routine that culminated with a 10/10 landing, the smile that spread across Caitlin’s face quickly spread across the nation’s too. And whilst the lone applause of her coach echoed through the empty space, in homes across SA, the cheers were resounding.”


By midday, the hashtags #TheOlympian and #CaitlinRooskrantz were trending on social media, and for a brief while at least, there was some good news we could all unite behind. 

Oosthuizen was equally moved by the performance: “I was pretty emotional watching it. 2020 has been a challenging year for most of us, with so many of our plans put on pause or cancelled. Caitlin is an inspiration to us all: she’s kept her eye on the prize, and instead of giving up, she’s never let setbacks get her down. This is something we hope all South Africans will be encouraged by – to not give up on their dreams but to use these challenging times to make new plans.”

“I am so proud of Caitlin’s routine,” said coach Ilse Pelser. Having trained Caitlin since she first took an interest in gymnastics at the age of 6, it was only fitting that Ilse would be right beside her as the nation watched her step up to the bars. “Years and years of hard work are paying off,” Ilse continued, “It was fantastic being out there with her – to see her do one of the best routines of her life.”

Watching from the side-lines, mom, Veda, is not only Caitlin’s fiercest supporter but her greatest inspiration too. Having single-handedly raised and supported her two kids after her husband (and Caitlin’s father) passed away some 12 years ago, the live-stream was a special milestone for the family. “It wasn’t easy getting to this point, but it was so worth it. Watching her today, and seeing her efforts celebrated across the country, I felt so proud of how far she has come – it’s exceeded our every expectation!”

Reflecting on the live-stream of her routine, and South Africa’s overwhelmingly positive response to it, Caitlin expressed her elation and relief. “I’m over the moon. I was nervous about it, but I gave it my best and I’m so proud of the end result – especially considering that I’ve been in lockdown for over three months and have only been back training for a month. I’m so grateful for this incredible opportunity, and I’m more motivated than ever. The dream hasn’t changed, only the timeline.”

Performing her 2020 Olympic routine