If Wayde Van Niekerk Winning The 400M Didn’t Make You Cry You Might Not Have A Soul


And not JUST win gold, but blow away some extremely fierce
competition and obliterate Michael Johnson’s 17-year-old world
record for the event.

Congratulations @WaydeDreamer to you and your coach! Well
done and deserved. Olympic Gold and World record. I know
the feeling! #Rio2016

— Michael Johnson (@MJGold)

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At his first Olympics. While running in the outermost Lane 8 on
the track, where you can’t see anyone else in the race, and
from which no one has ever successfully won Olympic gold in
this event. That’s…kind of a big
deal, y’all.

And maybe you were like, “Who IS this guy, anyway?”

And maybe you were like, "Who IS this guy, anyway?"

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Patrick Smith / Getty Images

ID: 9436538

And where did he get those cheekbones?

The answer is a) an extremely fast 24-year-old runner from
Cape Town, South Africa, and b) my new hero in life.

The answer is a) an extremely fast 24-year-old runner from Cape Town, South Africa, and b) my new hero in life.

View this image ›

Shaun Botterill / Getty Images

ID: 9436624

Also maybe, if I play my cards right, c) future husband.

Because Wayde doesn’t just have the best bone structure on
the track; he also has a story so inspiring it could make a
pair of running shoes choke up.

Because Wayde doesn't just have the best bone structure on the track; he also has a story so inspiring it could make a pair of running shoes choke up.

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Olivier Morin / AFP / Getty Images

ID: 9436657

NBC ran a pre-race Feelings segment on Niekerk before the 400m
that did exactly what it was supposed to, i.e. make me bawl
like a dang baby when he won.

He wasn’t just running for himself, but for his trainer, an
amazing 74-year-old woman named Ans Botha.

South Africa sprinter @WaydeDreamer and 400m #WorldRecord
holder is trained by a 74-year old great grandmother.

— NBC Olympics (@NBCOlympics)

ID: 9436751

Botha runs the track program, like the
total boss she is, at the University of the Free State in
Cape Town, where Niekerk was a student.

And for his mom, a former track athlete herself who
couldn’t compete internationally because of apartheid laws
in South Africa.

She, understandably, is
proud as heck.

And, you know, for all of South Africa, and the many kinds
and colors of people in it. NBD.

And, you know, for all of South Africa, and the many kinds and colors of people in it. NBD.

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Jamie Squire / Getty Images

ID: 9436749

Niekerk carried his country’s flag during the opening ceremony,
and then won South Africa’s first gold of the Rio games. After
winning he
said, “I have dreamed of this since I was a kid.”

Anyway, his coach’s reaction when he won summed up my own
feelings exactly. This stuff is why the Olympics are worth
watching.

Well done, Coach! #Rio2016

— NBC Olympics (@NBCOlympics)

ID: 9437187

So, if you missed Niekerk running last night, I highly suggest

checking out the race here.

And you can tune in to see him run for another medal
(hopefully) in the 200m final on Thursday.

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