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Cameron on what his golden Olympic moment meant
- Updated: July 30, 2012
By Mark Etheridge┬áin London
While most of South Africa would have been bemoaning the fact that it’s Monday morning, when the sun rose in London it would have cast a golden glow over Cameron Van der Burgh.
And our new Olympic breaststroke champion will quite rightfully be treating Monday as his very own Sunday after blitzing to a world record 58.46 second victory in the 100-metre breaststroke final on Sunday night.
“Monday is my Sunday and I’ll probably do some sight-seeing around London,” said Van der Burgh after his epic victory.
“And it’s also going to be great to actually come and watch some swimming for a change and support my fellow South African swimmers.
“Already our one gold medal is better than in Beijing!”
Van der Burgh, 24, also paid tribute to rival and best friend Alex Oen, the Norwegian breaststroke ace who died tragically from a heart attack after training in America earlier this year.
“In 2007/2008 Alex helped me so much and took me under his wing. When I touched the wall tonight I looked up to the sky and thought he was probably looking down laughing and saying ‘How can you go that time?’
“He really had such an influence on my career.”
Van der Burgh said in the final build-up before his amazing swim the pressure had been amazing.
“We all dream about being an Olympic champion. In 2004 I watched some of these guys and now here I am. This is definitely the proudest day of my life.
“I had to delete my Twitter network to just focus on my race,” he smiled.
Looking on proudly was Ryk Neethllng, Athens 2004 Olympic 4x100m relay gold medallist and now assisting Van der Burgh in managing his career.
“When I watched Ryk in 2004 I got goosebumps,” said Van der Burgh.
“Since then I’ve known that I can write my own destiny and today I took that chance…”
South Africa will be hoping that Van der Burgh’s Olympic team-mates will be buoyed by his golden success and take their own chances at the world’s biggest sporting occasion.