By: Amy WolfWriting 2Professor PattersonNatalie du toit: Swim Your Own RaceNatalie du toit: Swim Your Own Race
As a teenager, Natalie du Toit was a prominent swimmer. She qualifiedfor the 1998 Commonwealth Games at a young age of 14.
In 2001, Natalie was in a devastating car accident, forcing her toamputate her leg.
Despite the loss of her leg, Natalie continued to swim.
Less than two years after her accident, she qualified for the finals of the800 meter freestyle at the 2002 Commonwealth Games, marking the firsttime an amputee raced in the finals of an able-bodied internationalswimming competition.
In 2003, competing against able-bodied swimmers, Du Toit won gold inthe 800 meters freestyle at the All- Africa Games a silver in the 800 meterfreestyle and bronze in the 400 meter freestyle at the Afro-Asian Games.
At the 2004 Athens Paralympics, she won 5 gold medals and one silvermedal.
In 2008, Natalie achieved her dreams by competing in 10 km open swimat the Beijing Olympics. She is the first to compete in both the Olympicsand Paralympics, breaking the barrier between disabled and able-bodied swimmers.
Natalie swimming the10 km open water race for the 2008 BeijingOlympics. She placed 16th.
Natalie also competed in the 2008 Paralympics. She won 5 gold medals,dominating every race she swam in.
For both the 2008 Olympics and Paralympics, Du Toit was chosen to carrythe South African flag for the opening ceremony.
She is the first athlete ever to carry the flags at both competitions.
Natalie swam her last Commonwealth Games in 2010. There, she won 3gold medals.
Her last major swim competition was the 2012 London Paralympics.
There, she won 3 gold medals and one silver medal.
With the 2012 Paralympics as her last competition, she ended her careerwith a total of 13 gold medals and two silver medals.
Along with her medals, she has won several awards and honors for herachievements in swimming and breaking down the barrier betweendisabled and able- bodied sports.
After retiring from swim, Natalie travels as a motivational speaker,sharing her story and what she has learned along the way.
She shares her life’s journey with audiences of all ages and has trulybecome an inspiration for many people, not only in South Africa, but allover the world.