Blast from the past: Harrison makes Olympic history for SA
Today in SA sports history: July 31
1907 — The SA cricket team is bowled out for 75 on the third and final day of the second test at Leeds as England win by 53 runs. The win gives the home side a 1-0 advantage with one test to go.
1952 — Joan Harrison, just 16, wins SA’s first Olympic swimming gold as she finishes first in the women’s 100m backstroke at the Helsinki Games. She clocked 1min 14.3sec to beat Holland’s Geertjie Wielema by two-tenths of a second. Luckily for the South African, Wielema produced her 1:13.8 Olympic record in the heats. Three days earlier Harrison ended fourth in the 100m freestyle, in 1:07.01, but had she repeated the 1:06.5 she’d managed in the heats, she would have won gold. SA won 10 medals in all at those Games, but the only two golds came from the women, Harrison and high-jumper Esther Brand...
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