At the age of just 14, Natalie du Toit swam for South Africa at the 1998 Commonwealth Games. A prodigy, her dream was to compete at the Olympics.
Tragically, in 2001, du Toit was severely injured when a car crashed into her scooter on the way to school. Nearly losing her life, she was forced to have her left leg amputated at the knee.
But this didn’t stop du Toit in her ambition to keep swimming competitively. Only three months after the accident, she returned to swimming practice.
With relentless determination and incredible strength in recovery and training, du Toit made it to the Commonwealth Games in Manchester 2002. Not only did she break records in the multi-disability 100-meter freestyle as well as the multi-disability 50-meter freestyle, but she also left her mark on the world and made history.
Natalie du Toit qualified to swim in the 800-meter able-bodied freestyle final. This was the first time in history that an amputee had qualified to compete in the finals of a major, able-bodied, international swimming competition.
With her strong focus, du Toit finally realized her ultimate goal in 2008 in Beijing, when she made history by becoming the first female amputee swimmer ever to qualify for the able-bodied Olympics. Continuing to push boundaries, Natalie du Toit carried the South African flag during the opening ceremony at both the 2008 Olympics and Paralympics.