The first week of the Olympics are usually quiet for many African nations. Boxing, track, judo and taekwondo are still in their preliminary phases, or have yet to begin. But the South African swimmers really made waves with 2 golds and 1 silver medal won by the end of the day on Friday, August 3. A much better start for the team than in Beijing (2008) where they did not win any swimming medals. Chad Le Clos won gold in the 200m butterfly, and silver in the 100m butterfly (switching places with his hero Michael Phelps). Cameron Van der Burgh won gold in the 100m breaststroke.
Le Clos has been fantastic to watch, making four Olympic finals in London. He pulled out of the 400m individual medley to concentrate on the 100m butterfly, which was worth his while as he won silver. South Africa won a third gold medal in the men's lightweight 4 rowing event. South Africa leads the continent on medal count and by the end of the first week was ranked 11th in the world.
Suzaan van Biljon made a final in the 200m breaststroke, breaking the African record. Tunisian swimmer Oussama Mellouli made it to the 1500m freestyle final. Kirsty Coventry, Zimbabwe's top Olympian qualified for several swimming finals, but failed to make the podium this time round. She did well to reach the finals and Zimbabwe should be proud.
The first track event final of the Games, the women's 10,000m, put Ethiopia on the medal stand with their first gold. Tirunesh Dibaba defended her previous Beijing gold medal, handily beating out her competition. Kenyan runner Sally Kipyego picked up silver and her team mate Vivian Cheruiyot won bronze. This should be the first of quite a few medal hauls for both Kenya and Ethiopia now the running has begun.
Badminton pair Michelle Edwards and Annari Viljoen of South Africa found themselves in the quarter finals as a result of the disqualifications of 8 pairs in the tournament. Unfortunately the South Africans failed to make it past their Russian opponents. Eritrea's first Olympic cyclist, young Daniel Teklehaymanot did not place on the podium, but he did finish a mere 40 seconds behind the gold medal winner. A great achievement for a cyclist without the back up of a team. Senegal and Egypt's men's football teams will battle it out over the weekend to try and make it through to the quarter finals.
Check back next week for more Olympic results and find out more about: Africa's Olympic Athletes in London 2012.
Image of Chad le Clos swimming butterfly at the London Olympics - © Getty Image/Clive Rose