The International Olympic Committee (IOC) 7tn World Forum on Sport, Education & Culture

South Africa is a country with a long and rich tradition of sport participation and achievement. Many say we are a sport crazy nation. South Africa has enjoyed international successes from the early 19th Century. In 1884, E.L. Williams and E.W. Lewis reached the final of the first men’s doubles at Wimbledon Tennis, but unfortunately lost. In 1893, Laurens S. Meintjes became South Africa’s (and most probably Africa’s) first world record holder, in the sport of cycling. At the World’s Fair Cycle Meeting in Chicago, he won the sixty-two mile international championship. In the same year in Springfield, Massachusetts, he set a world record in the hour’s race. In 1896, South Africa won its first rugby test ever, against the British Isles. And we repeated the victory last Saturday against England on their home soil. You may have discovered in your hotel rooms that we have more televised sport round the clock than most countries. You can watch more English Premiership Football games live here in South Africa than in England. Need I say more? South Africans have had a long and special relationship with the Olympic Movement. The minority white South Africans first participated officially in the 1908 Olympic Games in London. It is significant that Reginald E. Walker, from Durban, won the Olympic gold medal in the 100 metres and equaled the Olympic record of 10.8 seconds for the second time. In the same year he equaled the world record of 11.4 seconds in the 120 yards. As a matter of interest, Walker wrote the first textbook on sprinting in 1910, which was part of Health & Strength’s series on sports coaching, two years after winning Olympic Gold.

Date
: 15 December 2010
Author
: SRSA - Speech Min F Mbalula
Year
: 2010
Publication
: Speech
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Media Type
: Speech
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