24 Facts: Ryk Neethling

2012-04-11 16:25
1. Bloemfontein welcomed their most famous export on 17 November 1977.

2. When he was not in the pool, Ryk could be found attending school at Grey College.

3. Ryk has two sisters, Elsje and Jean-Marie.

4. In 1996 Ryk joined the SA swimming team and got the chance to flex his muscles at the 1996 Summer Olympics in Atlanta, Georgia.

5. He loved the US of A so much, he decided to stay! Ryk then attended the University of Arizona in Tucson (that's Too-son, not Tuckson).

6. He also picked up a heavy American accent while he was there and has yet to drop it completely.

7. While he was there, he hooked up with US swimmer Amanda Beard and the two embarked on a what he calls a "stormy" relationship. They broke things off in 2004, after the Athens Olympics.

8. Amanda has now made a few allegations about their relationship, saying they used cocaine, acid and ecstasy together, and he’s the reason she started cutting herself. Eish!

9. Of course, Ryk has denied it and points to his flawless record of blood and urine tests.

10. Speaking of the Olympics, Ryk is the first South African to have taken part in four consecutive Olympic Games.  Over-achiever…

11. Ryk swims for love, not money. In 2005 he famously rejected a multi-million dollar offer to deny his country and swim for Qatar during the 2008 Beijing Olympics.

12. How does Ryk start his day? With at least 600 sit-ups. Those abs say it all…

13. Chasing the Dream is the title of his biography by Clinton van den Berg, which was released in 2008.

14. Ryk is not only admired in South Africa for his sporting greatness, but also for how great he looks. He won heat magazine's Hot 100 title in 2008 and 2009.

15. Although Ryk had a cameo in local soapie 7de Laan a while ago, he admits he knows his strengths and will stick to the pool instead of hamming it up in front of the camera.

16. His favourite holiday destination? Spain.

17. Swimming Stars is the Olympian's swimming academy which has branches in various cities around the country.

18. As former swimming teammates, Ryk and Princess Charlene of Monaco are good friends, and he attended her star-studded wedding in the principality in 2011.

19. His favourite band is Just Jinjer. He says when he lived in the States he spent a lot of time with the band, but he’s glad to have them back in SA.

20. His sister Elsje was diagnosed with brain cancer as a young girl, and battled the illness bravely, despite many surgeries. She has recovered fully.

21. Ryk's lung capacity is at 116%!

22. He watches movies like Rocky and Cinderella Man for inspiration. Perhaps we’ll see him in a boxing ring someday.

23. In 2011 Ryk launched his own wine label at Val de Vie Wine Estate in Paarl, Western Cape.

24. He swears you'll never see him in a Speedo on the beach. Not that we'd mind…

(Sources: wikipedia.org, swimseal.co.za, learntoswim.co.za, YOU Pulse)


He's undoubtedly South Africa's most popular Olympian, and he knows how to make a splash. We take a look at the life, times and tribulations of this sexy swimmer.
Read more on:    ryk neethling  |  celebrities

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