Blast from the past: Just what the Doctor ordered for Bafana in first game back

Blast from the past — July 7

06 July 2023 - 21:40

1912 — Rudolph Lewis wins South Africa’s first — and so far only — Olympic cycling gold medal when he finishes first in the road race at the Stockholm Games. The race, organised in a time trial format because local police were worried about regular traffic on the road having to cope with groups of cyclists, started at 2am, with entrants going off every two minutes. Lewis was the second rider off, leaving at 2.02am. He took an early lead in the 320km race around Lake Malar and eventually finished at 12.44pm. His winning time of 10hr 42min 39sec broke the course record by nearly 40 minutes. With the first starter dropping out inside the first two hours after smashing his bicycle, Lewis had nobody to pace. But at least he avoided some of the afternoon heat, unlike second-placed Englishman FG Grubb, who started at 6.30am and in the end was only fewer than nine minutes slower than Lewis. The authors of the Olympic report felt that cycling, though popular in Sweden, did not belong on the Olympic programme. “In our opinion, cycling ought not to be included in future Olympic Games. It is a form of sport that thrives best by itself, and it should have its own great international celebrations.” Their epitaph was overstated, however, with cycling featuring at every Olympics since (and before, in fact)...

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