Courtesy of: Witters Sport via USA Today Sports
Though Mandela never had a direct involvement with aquatic sports, his work to end apartheid in South Africa had a lasting effect on sport in that country. With the end of the oppressive regime that treated the black majority as second-class citizens, South Africa was allowed to return to the Olympic Games after a 28-year-absence. Since then, South Africa has won 11 swimming medals at the Olympics, including five gold.
Two of those prestigious medalists, Roland Schoeman and Chad Le Clos, honored Mandela as well on Twitter:
RIP Madiba you were a beacon of hope. May you dreams and ideals live in everyone that comes after you http://t.co/dceB67WiPa— Roland Schoeman (@Rolandschoeman) December 5, 2013
Thank you Sir for everything you have done for everyone! may your Legacy and beliefs live on... http://t.co/bWIyZyHgvn— Chad Le Clos (@chadleclos) December 6, 2013
Below is the full FINA press release regarding their tribute to Mandela:
FINA learnt with great sadness about the loss of Nelson Mandela, one of the most charismatic leaders of the 20th century, and a true hero for his nation, South Africa. To honour his memory, the FINA flag is at half-mast at its headquarters in Lausanne.
During his life, he paid a hard price for his commitment towards equality, justice and human rights. His example, his courage and his vision remain a strong legacy for the entire world.
"The world has lost a great human being, and an inspiration to all of us. His successful fight against apartheid in South Africa is a major contribution to the improvement of human rights worldwide. Mandela also loved Sport. He strongly believed in its capacity to unite the five continents, in its commitment to bring peace and in its added value for the youth", considered FINA President Dr. Julio C. Maglione.
In this moment of worldwide mourning, FINA sends its heartfelt condolences to the entire South African nation, namely its Aquatic community.