Wayde van Niekerk South Africa Olympic Games

Wayde van Niekerk. Image: EPA/CHRISTIAN BRUNA

At which Olympic Games did South Africa win the most medals?

South Africa first participated at the Olympics Games 120 years ago in 1904 in St. Louis and sent athletes to every edition until Rome 1960.

Wayde van Niekerk South Africa Olympic Games

Wayde van Niekerk. Image: EPA/CHRISTIAN BRUNA

South Africa first participated at the Olympics Games 120 years ago in 1904 in St. Louis and sent athletes to compete at every Olympics Games until 1960 in Rome.

At that time, in response to South Africa’s policy of apartheid, Mzansi was then barred from the Games.

After negotiations to end apartheid in the country commenced in 1990, South Africa re-joined the Olympic movement.

South African returned to the Olympic family in 1992

The South African Sports Confederation and Olympic Committee (Sascoc) was created in 1991 and South Africa returned to the Games at the 1992 Olympics in Barcelona.

In total, South Africa was excluded from seven Olympic Games’ during that period.

South Africa has competed at a total of 20 Olympic Games to date and won a total of 89 medals.

Those 89 medals comprise 27 golds, 33 silvers and 29 bronzes.

Those medals have come in 11 different sports, with athletics (28), swimming (20) and boxing (19) the top three sports.

South Africa has struck gold in six of those 11 sports.

South Africa’s athletes will be looking to add to that tally at this year’s Paris Olympics from 26 July to 11 August.

But which has been South Africa’s most successful Games?

On three occasions, South Africa’s athletes returned to the country with 10 medals.

Those Games were in 1920 (Antwerp, Belgium), 1952 (Helsinki, Finland) and 2016 (Rio de Janeiro, Brazil).

However, in terms of gold medals won – which determines a country’s rank on the medal table – the 1912 Games in Stockholm, Sweden and 100 years later at the 2012 edition in London, England proved most lucrative with four golds.

Squads for Paris

Last week Sascoc announced the first batch of South African athletes for Paris, including the athletics and swimming squads.

ATHLETICS (17)

Men: Luxolo Adams (200m), Stephen Mokoka (marathon), Zakhiti Nene (400m), Lythe Pillay (400m), Benjamin Richardson (200m), Akani Simbine (100m), Tshepo Tshite (1 500m), Wayde van Niekerk (400m), Jovan van Vuuren (long jump), Adriaan Wildschutt (5 000m, 10 000m)

Women: Marione Fourie (100mH), Zeney Geldenhuys (400mH), Rogail Joseph (400mH), Cian Oldknow (marathon), Prudence Sekgodiso (800m), Gerda Steyn (marathon), Irvette van Zyl (marathon)

AQUATICS (8)

Men: Pieter Coetze (100m, 200m backstroke), Chad le Clos (100m butterfly), Matthew Sates (100m, 200m butterfly and 200m IM)

Women: Aimee Canny (200m freestyle), Kaylene Corbett (200m breaststroke), Erin Gallagher (100m butterfly), Rebecca Meder (200m IM), Tatjana Smith (100m, 200m breaststroke)

For the latest Paris Olympics 2024 news, bookmark The South African website’s dedicated section

SOUTH AFRICA MEDALS AT EVERY OLYMPIC GAMES

GamesAthletesGoldSilverBronzeTotal
1904 St. Louis80000
1908 London141102
1912 Stockholm214206
1920 Antwerp3934310
1924 Paris301113
1928 Amsterdam241023
1932 Los Angeles122035
1936 Berlin320101
1948 London352114
1952 Helsinki6424410
1956 Melbourne500044
1960 Rome550123
1964 TokyoExcluded
1968 Mexico City
1972 Munich
1976 Montreal
1980 Moscow
1984 Los Angeles
1988 Seoul
1992 Barcelona930202
1996 Atlanta843115
2000 Sydney1270235
2004 Athens1061326
2008 Beijing1360101
2012 London1254116
2016 Rio de Janeiro13826210
2020 Tokyo1771203
Total27332989

MEDALS WON BY SPORT

Ranked by gold medals won, then silver in the event of a tie

SportGoldSilverBronzeTotal
Athletics913628
Swimming77620
Boxing64919
Tennis3216
Cycling1438
Rowing1113
Shooting0101
Surfing0101
Canoeing0011
Rugby0011
Triathlon0011
Total27332989