South Africans are rallying around Caster Semenya, on social meda and elsewhere. A message is being shared on Twitter in support of the runner, who is destined to provoke controversy at the Olympics because of her place in a debate over female athletes with high levels of testosterone being allowed to compete.
— IOL News (@IOL) August 16, 2016
Semenya made her debut in Rio in the 800 heats on Wednesday, and then showed her gratitude for the support, also on Twitter:
Thank you South Africa... I feel proud to be a South African ..Thanks for the Love and Support.. I'll make you proud.
— Caster Semenya (@caster800m) August 17, 2016
Semenya is also getting a lot of love from South African politicians, including the minister of sport.
— RSA Min of Sport (@MbalulaFikile) August 13, 2016
And an opposition party back home got in on the act, casting Semenya as a national hero and telling people not to call it while she was running at the Olympics, because they'd all be watching her on TV and no one would answer.
— Matshidiso Madia (@tshidi_lee) August 17, 2016
Semenya is the red-hot favorite to win gold in the two-lap race, and may also have a chance at breaking the 33-year-old world record in the 800. She began Wednesday by cruising to victory in her race and qualifying for the semifinals.
(AP Photo/Martin Meissner)