Looking at him now, no one would think that Wayde van Niekerk weighed just two pounds at birth. His mother, Odessa Swarts, gave birth to him prematurely, at only 29 weeks, and there was even doubt that he would survive. But survived he did and now the 24-year old is smashing track and field records and being poised to be the next Usain Bolt.
Wayde van Niekerk, a native of South Africa, made headlines this year at the Rio Summer Olympic games when he not only gold against defending champion Kirani James, but that he also set a new world record for the 400-m with a time of 43.03. The previous record was set by Michael Johnson, who was astounded with the young athlete's skills.
"That was a massacre. This young man has done something truly special. He could go under 43 seconds - I tried and failed," Johnson said. Van Niekerk was able to shave off .15 seconds from the previous record of Michael Johnson, a time that has been unbeaten for the past 17 years.
This was not the first record that Wayde van Niekerk has been smashing. Just this year, he became the first in history to run under 10-seconds in the 100 meters, under 20 seconds in the 200 meter and under 44 seconds in the 400 meters, as stated by the International Association of Athletics Federation.
Wayde van Niekerk is a committed Christian and has professed time and time again about his praise for God after his races. When he won the gold in Rio 2016, he tweeted his picture with the words "Jesus did it".
He knows the importance of faith and has learned to put value into it because he recognizes that his talent and skills are a blessing from God. Now with the news that Usain Bolt, who also credits God with his talent, is set to retire in 2017, many believe that Wayde van Niekerk is ready to step up and be the next track and field star.
Just this November, he was awarded the South African Sports Star of the Year and the Sportsman of the Year award.