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Mr John Smith

The Order of Ikhamanga in

Mr John Smith Awarded for:
His excellent contribution to the field of water sport and winning gold for South Africa in the 2012 Olympic Games. He does not rest on his laurels as he aims for the 2020 Olympic Games on a bigger challenge.
Profile of John Smith

Mr John Smith was born in January 1990. He won a gold medal in the men’s lightweight coxless four event at the 2012 Summer Olympics in London.

Two years later Smith and James Thompson teamed up in the lightweight double sculls to claim the world championship gold in a world record.

In both races they came from behind amid strong surges. Smith attended St Alban’s College and had to switch sports from water polo to rowing after picking up an injury during a water polo match at the age of 16.

Not one to rest on his laurels, Smith is already priming himself for the next challenge. He has never been shy to take on big challenges and has decided to move up a weight category as part of his preparation for the 2020 Games in the Tokyo, Japan.

Smith knows that with a move from lightweight to heavyweight he is in for a tough challenge. Not only will he have to gain 20 kilograms (kg), he also needs to become much stronger.
Since the Olympic Games in Rio, Smith has already gained 12 kg. His goal is to weigh 90 kg becoming stronger and moving closer to his goal for the 2020 games.

Following their 2014 win, Olympic gold medalists Smith and Thompson realised a life-long dream after claiming first place  in the lightweight men’s double sculls at the World Rowing Championships in the Netherlands in a new world’s best time.

The time of 6:05.36 they set was the best result in history at the global event by a South African crew, with Shaun Keeling and Vincent Breet also adding to the country’s successes by claiming the bronze medal in the men’s pair.