When Sunette Viljoen (33) clinched the silver medal for women’s javelin at the Rio Olympics in 2016, she flew the South African flag with great pride, becoming the first openly LGBTQIA African athlete to medal in the event.
Viljoen’s best throw of 64.92 meters was enough to secure her first Olympic medal, which hangs alongside her golds from the 2006 and 2010 Commonwealth Games.
She says the medals are a great achievement, but they don’t bring her as much joy as her son, Henri, and partner, Limari. Viljoen is a former Proteas cricketer who represented South Africa at the 2000 Women’s Cricket World Cup in New Zealand.
Viljoen may be a team player but she’s also not shy to stand up to authority. Her Twitter wars with former Sports Minister, Fikile Mbalula, about the maladministration and corruption that plagues South African sport, is well-documented.
Viljoen will always move to her own beat, grounded by her belief that God has her back, on and off the athletics pitch.
That’s why, despite her age, Viljoen is not yet ready to retire her medal arm, which means that, come 2020, there may a few more Olympic medals hanging in her Johannesburg home.
|The hardest lesson I have learnt is that you lose much more than you win.|