If you haven’t heard, South African sprinter Wayde van Niekerk put on one of the all-time greatest Olympic performances Sunday in Rio. Running from the unlikely outside lane of the men’s 400m event, the 24-year-old from Cape Town took home South Africa’s first gold of the Rio Games and picked up a world record in the process. Clocking in at an unimaginable 43.03-seconds, the 8th-ranked South African outran two former Olympians (it wasn’t even close) and obliterated American track-and-field great Michael Johnson’s 17-year 400m world record by .15 of a second.
“I was running blind all the way,” van Niekerk said after the race. “I thought someone was going to catch me — what’s going on, what’s going on, and it gave me motivation to keep on pushing.”
The race happened early Monday morning in van Niekerk’s home country. Many in South Africa are just waking up to the news. #WaydevanNiekerk, not surprisingly, is currently the top trend on SA Twitter, followed by #mondaymotivation, World Record and Wade. (But let’s be real, van Niekerk is the ultimate Monday motivation)
“Proudly South African” is also trending.
— Eusebius McKaiser (@Eusebius) August 15, 2016
— Makopo (@MakopoK) August 15, 2016
— Gotham ♘ Mr Wet-work (@Klumsayz) August 15, 2016
— Adv Thuli Madonsela (@ThuliMadonsela3) August 15, 2016
— IG: Tshemedi Ⓜ️ (@RealTshemedi) August 15, 2016
— Lumos Maxima (@Poe_Kuri) August 15, 2016
— Jay (@Its_JayTM) August 15, 2016
— Ronald Phiri (@RonaldPhiri01) August 15, 2016
— IG (@Tshepoo_) August 15, 2016
— Maps Maponyane (@MapsMaponyane) August 15, 2016
— sensitive (@kylaphil) August 15, 2016
To see #WaydevanNiekerk fill so many coloured people with pride is awe-inspiring. We have too few heroes & too many villains. Lets change it
— Ryan Cummings (@Pol_Sec_Analyst) August 15, 2016
It’s not often you get to see a young coloured man on top of the world like this. Wayde van Niekerk is an unstoppable hero.
— bushy haired girl (@jaggedlilpen) August 15, 2016
That video of @WaydeDreamer ‘s run is sooooo powerful!!! God engineering!!! He looks like he’s floating in the air!!! Well done papa!!! ??
— FillUpOrlandoStadium (@CassperNyovest) August 15, 2016
— Firebrand (@simphiwedana) August 15, 2016
— Sibongile Mafu (@sboshmafu) August 15, 2016
— Geraldine Pillay (@sportypillay) August 15, 2016
Can someone please tell me now when the parade will be for Wayde van Niekerk in Azania. I have confetti for days.
— Ambassador Gaspard (@patrickgaspard) August 15, 2016