Schoenmaker happy to put a smile on SA faces after winning Olympic gold

Olympic gold medallist Tatjana Schoenmaker is now back in South Africa and said that it was all still sinking in.

South Africa's Tatjana Schoenmaker picked up Team SA's first gold medal of the 2020 Tokyo Olympics Games when she won the 200m breaststroke in a world record time on 30 July 2021. Picture: Anton Geyser/SASPA/SASI

JOHANNESBURG - Olympic gold medal winner Tatjana Schoenmaker said that it was heartwarming to hear how she "put a smile" on South Africans' faces when she won the country's first gold at the Tokyo Olympics.

Last week, she smashed the long-standing women's 200m breaststroke world record and won gold. She also secured a silver medal in 100m women’s breaststroke.

ALSO READ: 'Still so unreal' - Schoenmaker 'shocked' at record-breaking gold

It made her the first female South African to win an Olympic swimming gold since 1996.

Schoenmaker is now back on home soil and said that it was all still sinking in.

“All I wanted to do out there is put a smile on South Africa’s face again and just know that we will be okay. I obviously want to say thank you to everyone that has messaged me and if I didn't get time to get back, I am sorry,” said the Olympic swimming champion.

South Africa has picked up three medals at the 2020 Olympic Games in Tokyo so far. We look at the two athletes who have stood tall on the international stage. Picture: Eyewitness News

Since arriving back in the country on Monday afternoon, Schoenmaker has been celebrating with family and friends, as well as taking a break.

Recently, mental health concerns have risen in the sporting community. In May, tennis star Naomi Osaka quit the French Open after the first round before announcing that she would not participate in Wimbledon. Last week, US gymnast, Simone Biles, decided that it would be best to withdraw from the Olympic women’s artistic team all-round final, likewise citing mental health concerns.

The swimmer explained that she uses her faith: “I’m not swimming to meet other people’s expectations. I’m just swimming to give my best and glorify God and fulfil his purpose.

“I let it all in God’s hands and I don’t think anyone can expect more than just your best. And I think sometimes we maybe think they expect so much but I cannot give more than my best,” Schoenmaker explained.

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