Josiah Thugwane was the first Black South African athlete to win an Olympic gold medal.

He was born on 22 April 1971 in the small town Bethal, eastern Transvaal (now Mpumalanga). Josiah Thugwane did not receive much education while he was growing up. He learned to read and write after winning his Gold medal at the Atlanta Olympics, 1996. He started as a local soccer player and in 1990 started running marathons to support his poor family.

He won the South African trials for the Olympic Games in 1996 and was selected to represent South Africa at the Atlanta Olympics in the United States, the first South African participation since the end of the international sports boycott.

From 1996 to 2002 Thugwane regularly took part in national and international marathons and half marathons. In 1997 he won the Fukuoka Marathon, claiming a personal best, national record and event record all at the same time with his 2:07:28 run. In the same year he was crowned South Africa's Sportsman of the Year.

He became the third man to defend his marathon title at the Sydney Olympics, Australia, in 2000. However, he was not successful.

Thugwane lives in Johannesburg with his wife and four children.

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