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About Roland Mark Schoeman
Born in Pretoria, Schoeman first took an interest in the sport when he was 13, and began to compete three years later. He has said that he began swimming to show a girl how interested he was in her. This marked the beginning of a career that would see him attain a gold, silver and bronze medal at the 2004 Olympic Games; three gold, a silver and a bronze World Championship medals, as well as four gold, three silvers and three bronzes at the Commonwealth Games. He set new South African records in the 100 m Freestyle (48.69 s), 50 m Freestyle (22.04 s), 100 m Butterfly (52.73 s) and 50 m Butterfly (23.65 s) events.
He won a gold medal at the 2004 Summer Olympics in Athens in the 4 × 100 m freestyle, a silver medal in the 100 m freestyle event and a bronze in the 50 m freestyle. Three of the Men's 100 metre Freestyle team were in the team that broke the record and won gold at the 2006 Commonwealth Games. He also claimed golds in the 100m freestyle and 100m butterfly.
Schoeman, who is asthmatic, was voted the African Swimmer of the Year by Swimming World in 2004, 2005 and 2006; and the South African Swimmer of the Year in 2003, 2004, 2005 and 2006. He was elected South African Sports Star of the Year in 2004.
In 2007, he received the South African Presidential Award Order of Ikhamanga in Silver, awarded for excellent achievements in the field of swimming.
At the 2005 FINA World Aquatics Championships in Montreal, Canada he won two gold medals [50 m Butterfly (in a world record time of 22.96 s) and Freestyle (21.69 s, the second fastest time in history at the time)]. He also claimed a silver in 100 m freestyle.
In December 2005, Schoeman turned down a 40 Million Rand (US$5.9 million) contract to swim for Qatar. He stated reasons of national pride for turning down the offer and that hearing the South African national anthem and sharing the joy of his victories with his fellow South Africans is what made winning gold special.
At the 2007 FINA World Aquatics Championships in Melbourne Australia he successfully defended his 50m butterfly title. He also made the final of the 50 m and 100 m freestyle and was part of the 4×100 m freestyle relay team that finished fourth. On 6 September 2008 Roland Schoeman set a new short course meters world record of 20.64 at South African Nationals. Schoeman, lost his world record in late 2008 but regained his record. At the Short Course World Record at South Africa Championships, Schoeman swam a 20.30 seconds of the 50 meter freestyle short course (25 m pool).
In the 2012 Summer Olympics in London, Schoeman, aged 32, advanced to the final in the Men's 50m freestyle, clocking a 21.80 to finish .46 seconds behind the gold medal winner, Florent Manaudou.