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Women enter the scene

The ninth Modern Olympic Games, Amsterdam 1928

Before the Games in Amsterdam Pierre de Coubertin retired as president of the IOC. His retirement opened the door for women to for the first to participate in track and field events.

South Africa entered a team consisting of 10 athletes, 1 cyclist, 5 swimmers, 6 boxers, 1 wrestler, one rower and one yachtsman. For South Africa this Games was a historical one. All five swimmers were women and the versatile Marjorie Clarke was the first woman to represent South Africa in track and field.

The best performance by a South African at the Games was the Gold Medal won by Sid Atkinson in the 110 metres hurdles.

The attention, though, was focussed on the women. The inclusion of Blanche Nash in the 1920 was regarded as tokenism. This time the women in the team had to perform to proof that they were worthy Olympians.
And it was the swimmers who made South Africa proud. The relay team of Rhoda Rennie, Freddie van der Goes, Mary Bedford and Kathleen Russel won the bronze medal.

Marjorie Clarke was only 19 years old at the Games. She finished a creditable fifth in the high jump. Her moment of glory was at this stage four years in the future.