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Josia Thugwane

Biographical information

Medals OG
Gold 1
Silver 0
Bronze 0
Total 1
TypeCompeted in Olympic Games
Full nameJosia•Thugwane
Used nameJosia•Thugwane
Born15 April 1971 in Bethal (RSA)
Measurements158 cm / 45 kg
NOC South Africa


Josia Thugwane ran his first marathon in 1991, but his big breakthrough came when he won the 1995 Honolulu Marathon. Only a few months before the 1996 Atlanta Olympics Thugwane was carjacked and shot, although the bullet only grazed his chin, but he injured his back trying to escape. Through medical care and rehab he was able to run in Atlanta.

In the Atlanta Olympic marathon, a large pack remained together until at 35 km, when Thugwane, Lee Bong-Ju from South Korea, and Eric Wainaina of Kenya, separated themselves from the field. They stayed together until entering the stadium, when Thugwane took a slight lead, and outran Lee to win by three seconds, the closest Olympic marathon finish ever to that date.

Thugwane had a successful year in 1997, winning the Fukuoka Marathon, but struggled after that year with only one exception. He failed to finish in three successive marathons, and finished only 20th in the 2000 Sydney Olympic marathon. He also did not finish at both 2001 and 2003 World Championships marathon, but did win the 2002 Nagano Marathon.

Personal Best: Mar – 2-07:28 (1997).


Games Discipline (Sport) / Event NOC / Team Pos Medal As
1996 Summer Olympics Athletics RSA Josia Thugwane
Marathon, Men (Olympic) 1 Gold
2000 Summer Olympics Athletics RSA Josia Thugwane
Marathon, Men (Olympic) 20