Olympic Champion Tatjana Schoenmaker Launches Tatjana Foundation

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Photo Courtesy: Becca Wyant

Olympic Champion Tatjana Schoenmaker Launches Tatjana Foundation

South African Olympic champion Tatjana Schoenmaker has announced the formation of the Tatjana Foundation to “blessing to others just as I have been blessed.”

Schoenmaker made the announcement last Friday. She cited financial rewards she has earned from her swimming as well as crowdfunding as the seed to the foundation. Schoenmaker wants the foundation to be a “God centered foundation” that gives back to those in her community. Schoenmaker reportedly raised 1 million rand in three days.

“I already started from when I was young – I just wanted to give back. I think for me, it was always a dream but when it really became a reality was when I was blessed with the crowdfunding money and the support I got from South Africa,” Schoenmaker told SuperSport at a launch event. “Obviously we need finances to help with this launch and to make a difference. I can use who I am as well, but finances are a big part and I’m so grateful that they were able to bless me with the finances and now I can use it to bless someone else.”

One of the early focuses is going to “water-related projects,” but Schoenmaker indicated that it won’t be limited to swimming or elite swimming. She identified access to water safety and swim lessons as an early possible avenue.

Schoenmaker has a history of charity activities through Pretoria-based Precious Blessings, which provides abandoned or neglected children. The Johannesburg native has emphasized how important staying in South Africa was to her journey and she has offered support for other athletes who eschew going abroad to further their careers.

Schoenmaker was one of the standout stars of the Tokyo Olympics. She won gold in the women’s 200 breaststroke, setting a world record of 2:18.95. It was the only women’s individual world record of the Games. She also won silver in the 100 breaststroke. Her gold medal was the only one for South Africa at the Tokyo Olympics in all sports. She accounted for two of the nation’s three total medals.

The Tatjana Foundation expands the 24-year-old’s legacy and is the seed of a plan for her post-swimming life.

“I think for now it’ll be paying for the swimming lessons and stuff like that,” she said. “At the beginning, I won’t be as involved physically because I’m still swimming and I have a career. But that’s why I want to get it started now so I can already make a difference.

“Then when I’m done with swimming, I’ll be able to be all hands on deck and really be part of it. Not to just be the face in the background but to be there and help them as well.”

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