Cameron van der Burgh hit the wall,turned around and checked the scoreboard. He had just become the first South African man to win an individual Olympic gold medal in swimming.
He splayed his body on the lane line,tucked his hands behind his head that rested against the wall,and smiled. Van der Burgh beat a stellar field in the 100-metre breaststroke with a world-record time of 58.46 seconds on Sunday,but his mind was mostly on his late friend and fellow swimmer Alexander Dale Oen of Norway.
”I looked up at the sky and thought he’s probably laughing down at us and thinking how can you go that time?” he said.
Dale Oen died in April at 26 from heart disease,leaving Norway without its best hope for a gold medal in the Olympic pool.