Kate Roberts

What do you do when, by age 16, you’ve won provincial colours for athletics, biathlon, hockey, swimming and cross-country? If you’re Kate Roberts, you combine your skills and start competing in the ultimate endurance event: the triathlon.

Roberts traces her love of sport to 1992, when she watched Elana Meyer racing to silver at the Barcelona Games. “That really sparked something for me,” she recalls.

Today this Bloemfontein girl does much of her training in Canberra, Australia, with a professional squad. Around May each year she moves to Davos, Switzerland, to get ultra-fit at altitude level before travelling to races throughout the European summer.

Since a respectable 32nd at Beijing 2008, Roberts has been as high as seventh in the world rankings and won races in South Africa, France, Italy and Australia.

Right now just one race matters to Kate Roberts: Olympic triathlon, August 4 2012, London.

Ian Macleod