Have a cow, man: Bovines given to S. African Olympic winners
The initiative was announce by local businessman Jan Skannel, who said he was ready to give the horned presents – valued at around 700 euros each – to four South African rowers and two swimmers, the Beeld newspaper reported.
Not all of the athletes wanted their animals delivered alive. Swimmer Cameron van der Burgh chose to have his cow processed into 140 kilograms of beef sausage, which he donated to a local orphanage; rowers John Smith and James Thompson had their cows turned into beef jerky.
Chad le Clos, Olympic champion in the 200-meter butterfly swim, has not yet made his decision, while rower Sizwe Ndlovu is currently the only one who opted to receive a live cow.
Cows are traditionally used as gifts – usually to pay for a bride in a marriage dowry – in most southern African cultures. “From a national cultural perspective, I did not expect to get lobola [bride price] because I won a gold medal,” Ndlovu said.
(L-R) South Africa's James Thompson, Matthew Brittain, John Smith and Sizwe Ndlovu pose on the podium after receiving the gold medal in the men's lightweight four final A of the rowing event during the London 2012 Olympic Games, at Eton Dorney Rowing Centre in Eton, west of London, on August 2, 2012. (AFP Photo/Eric Feferberg)