South African swimmer Tatjana Schoenmaker won the 200m breaststroke gold medal in Tokyo 2020 and set a new World Record, becoming the first woman ever to swim under two minutes nineteen seconds.

As she finished the race, it took the 24-year-old athlete several seconds to realize that she had not only won the final but also made the best time in history: 2:18,95.

The images of her rivals in the finals embracing the winner and expressing their happiness for Schoenmaker have been praised as a great example of fair play. Tatjana’s gold medal was the first for South Africa in these Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games.

According to Christian Premier News, Schoenmaker, who is vocal about her Christian faith, usually swims with two caps, the official green RSA cap of her country, and a second blue cap with an Ichthys (or Jesus fish) on one side, and the words “Soli Deo Gloria” (Glory to God alone) on the other.

In a Twitter post just before starting the Olympic competitions, Schoenmaker wrote:

“Let the Games begin. Father God may your will be done, may your peace fill us up, may we praise you no matter what the outcome, may we be empowered by your strength to give it our all and may we forever be in the awe of your goodness! Thank you for bringing us to this very moment.”

Speaking to South African radio Capetalk, Tajana’s father, Rene, said: “I can’t describe how we are feeling. How proud we are of her, and how much it means to us, and the country as well… It shows what kind of person she is. With people [competitors] coming straight after, congratulating her…” Speaking to News24, he added that her daughter was started swimming ten years ago, and has been “humble and hard-working.”

In these Olympic Games, Schoenmaker had already been on the podium. Two days earlier, she won the silver medal in the 100m breaststroke final.


This story originally appeared at Evangelical Focus and is republished here with permission.