OLYMPIC gold medallist Roland Schoeman, in Port Elizabeth for the SA National Aquatic Championships, spoke yesterday of his biggest fan – his mother, Geraldine.
Schoeman was the guest speaker at a breakfast at a Richmond Hill restaurant.
“My father passed away 16 years ago and if it wasn’t for my mother, who is my No1 supporter, I wouldn’t be where I am today,” he said.
Schoeman was in Grade 11 when his father died in a car accident. It was on the second day of the Transvaal championships in 1997 and he insisted on staying in the competition, in his father’s honour.
“With him passing [away], I had a choice – to stop what I was doing or to carry on. My mom encouraged me and understood that I needed to swim.
“I always try to be the best I can be for my mom and my sister,” Schoeman said.
The Olympic swimmer, who was accompanied by his American girlfriend, Rachel Mortenson, and her daughter Ruby, 7, motivated guests, telling them never to give up on their dreams.
“I urge everyone, no matter what your circumstances are, to continue being strong and believe in the impossible and never put a limit on your goal.
“Make lofty aspirations and aspire to be the best you can be,” Schoeman said.
He plans to retire after the next Olympics.
“I am hoping to get a gold in the 50m freestyle and then I plan on helping in the transformation of sport,” Schoeman said.