WAYDE VAN NIEKERK
Wayde is a South African track and field sprinter who competes in the 200 and 400 metres. In the 400 metres, he is the current world and Olympic record holder, and Olympic champion. He also holds the world-best time in the 300 metres.
Van Niekerk was the silver medallist in the 400m at the 2014 Commonwealth Games and took bronze in the 4×400 metres relay at the 2013 Summer Universiade. He also represented South Africa at the 2013 and 2015 Athletics World Championships. At the 2015 World Championships, he won the gold medal in the 400 meters. He defended his title two years later, in London, where he also won the silver medal in the 200 meters race.
In the 2016 Olympic Games men’s 400m, Van Niekerk won the gold medal with a world record time of 43.03 seconds at age 24 years, beating the time of 43.18 seconds set by Michael Johnson during the 1999 World Championships in Athletics in Seville, Spain.
In 2016, Van Niekerk became the first, and to date, only, sprinter in history to have run the 100 metres in under 10 seconds, 200 metres in under 20 seconds, and 400 metres in under 44 seconds. In 2017, after a 30.81 seconds victory in the seldom-run 300 metres distance, breaking Michael Johnson’s world-best time of 30.85 which was set in 2000, Van Niekerk became the only sprinter in history to have run sub-10, sub-20, sub-31 and sub-44 performances at 100m, 200m, 300m and 400m respectively.
Van Niekerk married Chesney Campbell on 29 October 2017. He is the cousin of South African World Cup-winning rugby union and rugby sevens player Cheslin Kolbe. He first started using his speed while playing rugby in junior school in Cape Town. He and his cousin, Kolbe, were on the same team. More than 12 years later they were both in the South African Olympic Team in Rio, with Kolbe playing in the Sevens.