Insure your car, home and valuables with iWYZE
South African swimming champions Cameron van der Burgh and Chad le Clos were overwhelmed by the enthusiastic reception they got at OR Tambo International Airport today.
Seeing the crowds waiting for him prompted a similar feeling to his reaction upon realising he had won a gold medal, Van der Burgh said.
“I could never tell you how it felt (to win a gold medal), because it's the most overwhelming feeling. The closest thing to it is coming into the airport.”
Le Clos said as a youngster he had put up pictures of champion South African swimmers. He was moved by the thought that he too would now be a role model for others.
Van der Burgh and Le Clos said their medals proved what South African swimmers could achieve. They were looking to build on that success with the whole country.
Hundreds of people turned up to welcome the swimming team back home on a cold Thursday morning. Vuvuzelas buzzed and South African flags fluttered. One of the placards being displayed read: “Chad will you be my matric dance date?”
Also present, in uniform, were students from Crawford College, Van der Burgh's alma mater.
“It just makes you feel proud,” Crawford student and swimmer Robert Walker said.
Walker said knowing Van der Burgh came from the same swim team as he did showed him what he could achieve.
Van der Burgh won a gold medal in London on Sunday, July 29, for winning the 100m breaststroke in a world-record time of 58.46s.
Le Clos snatched gold from United States swimmer Michael Phelps in the 200m butterfly final on July 31. On August 3 he won a silver medal, tying for second in the men's 100m butterfly in 51.44s.