The death of former Protea cricket captain Hansie Cronje, at age 32, stunned South Africa and the cricketing world alike. Before his involvement in a betting scandal ended his career, Cronje was one of SAs most successful cricket captains. He took full responsibility for his part in the scandal, and had begun rebuilding his life, with the same courage and dignity he displayed on the field.
South Africa may not have progressed beyond the first round of the 2002 World Cup, but five goals, one win, one draw and a 3-2 thriller against one of the tournament favourites did more than erase the disappointment of the Africa Cup of Nations in Mali - it confirmed South Africa's arrival as a force in world football.
Quite possibly the best South African boxer of all-time and a member of the International Boxing Hall of Fame, Brian Mitchell won the WBA junior-lightweight title in 1986 and defended it a world record 12 times before retiring in 1991. Due to South Africa's apartheid policy during those times, Mitchell became a true 'road warrior', defending his title almost exclusively abroad.
In one field especially, the new freedoms of post-apartheid South Africa have brought new life - dance has became a prime means of artistic expression, with dance companies expanding and exploring new territory.
First run in 1970, the Two Oceans Marathon has become, with the exception of the Comrades Marathon, the most famous ultra-marathon in South Africa, and a beautiful and picturesque race that is known worldwide.
SA cricket was isolated from the rest of the world for 21 years because of apartheid. Isolation came at a time when the country could fairly claim to be the top test- playing nation in the world, having just pummelled the powerful Australians.
Did you know that a Johannesburg-born player was elected as an NBA All-Star in 2002, to play in a match that celebrates the biggest guns in basketball in the United States?
It's the national religion. Transcending race and language group, sport unites the country - and not just the male half of it.
South Africa is the home of world-class sporting facilities capable of accommodating tens of thousands of spectators in comfort, such as the picturesque Newlands grounds, nestled at the foot of Cape Town's mountains, and the energy-charged Wanderers Cricket Grounds in Johannesburg.
South African tennis player Wayne Ferreira had a 6-7 career head-to-head record against the player that he and many others, before the emergence of Roger Federer, regarded as the greatest of them all, Pete Sampras, the winner of a record 14 Grand Slam titles. He also ended his career having played in a record 56 Grand Slam tournaments in succession.