- Title: USA: SOUTH AFRICANS CELEBRATE SWIMMER PENNY HEYNS OLYMPIC GOLD MEDAL
- Date: 21st July 1996
- Summary: CAPETOWN 2004 FINANCE DIRECTOR MICHAEL FULLER SAYING THE DREAM IS TO HAVE SOUTH AFRICANS RUNNING AT AN OLYMPICS ON THEIR HOME GROUND (ENGLISH ARCHBISHOP DESMOND TUTU AT CHURCH SERVICE TUTU SAYING TO CONGREGATION THAT CAPETOWN WANTS TO COPY ATLANTA BY STAGING AN OLYMPICS (ENGLISH) TUTU AFTER SERVICE SAYING A CAPETOWN GAMES WOULD BE A VICTORY FOR THE WHOLE OF AFRICA (ENGLISH)
- Embargoed: 6th July 2005 17:30
- Location: ATLANTA, GEORGIA, UNITED STATES
- Country: USA
- Topics: Sport
- Reuters ID: LVA33GY06NMK7AM1CR6M3BDAFPPU
- Aspect Ratio: 4:3
- Story Text: South African swimmer Penny Heyns on Sunday (July 21) won the country's first Olympic Gold since 1952, raising the profile of a nation that hopes to host the event in 2004.
There were celebrations at the South Africa pavilion in Atlanta as Heyns swam to glory.
For decades, South Africa was banned from international competition because of its apartheid regime and it has only begun fully to rejoin the world sports community in the past few years.
The significance of Heyns' win went beyond that of a sporting achievement. It has also promoted interest in South Africa's bid for the right to stage the 2004 Olympics in Capetown.
The finance director of the Capetown 2004 bid, Michael Fuller, said in Atlanta on Sunday that, while Capetown will concentrate on making a sound technical bid, Heyn's victory was also important.
South African government and religious leaders have been in Atlanta since before the Games began, lobbying International Olympic Committee (IOC) delegates.
While South Africa is now an accepted part of the international community and has staged some big competitions such as the Rugby World Cup, getting the Olympics would be a huge boost to the country in both political and financial terms.
Archbishop Desmond Tutu attended a church service in Atlanta on Sunday and asked for the city's support in Capetown's bid.
Tutu said Atlanta's most famous son, Martin Luther King Junior, was an inspiration for black South Africans. Tutu thanked Atlanta for its support in breaking down apartheid in his homeland. To loud applause, the Archbishop said South Africa was a good student of Atlanta and wanted to copy the city by staging the 2004 Olympics.
Later, Tutu said a successful Capetown bid would be a victory for the whole African continent. He added that it could end scepticism about African potential to stage such a huge event.
At another church in Atlanta, Deputy President Thabo Mbeki was also pushing the Capetown bid.
Mbeki greeted churchgoers and said he would say 'hello' to President Nelson Mandela for them.
South Africa's athletes are also behind the Capetown bid and see the Atlanta Games as part of the process of raising the country's athletic profile. They, like millions of South Africans, hope that in eight years' time their team will be competing in front of a home crowd.
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